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'I want to take responsibility:' Retired Boise priest pleads guilty in child porn case

Father W. Thomas Faucher will plead guilty to two counts of distribution of child porn and additional counts involving possession of child porn and LSD.

BOISE — A retired Boise priest accused of collecting pornography of children as young as babies and musing online about his desire to rape and kill a child has pleaded guilty to five felonies as part of an agreement with prosecutors that drops nearly 20 additional charges.

Father W. Thomas Faucher, 72, admitted Friday to two counts of distribution of child pornography, two counts of possession of child pornography and possession of LSD.

But Faucher, who was pushed into the courtroom in a wheelchair, told the judge that he did not remember details of his crimes.

RELATED: 'Very dark and very evil things:' Bond reduction denied for Boise priest

In particular, he said, he had no recollection of sending an email containing pictures of a prepubescent boy and girl being sexually abused by adult men.

"I do not remember sending that," he said. "I was in that point - I was not in good shape, I was drinking a great deal and under an alcohol-induced depression and dementia."

Despite his memory lapse, Faucher said, he recognized that no one else could have sent the pornography from his computer.

"It's important for me to take responsibility for what I'm doing, what I did," he said. "It's not something I remember doing."

Faucher added that another person sent him "a large amount of images of child porn," and that he opened some of them and looked at them - although "not for very long," he said. He said he later tried to delete the pornography off of his computer.

MORE: Prosecutor: Retired Boise priest had porn of sexual abuse of infants, toddlers

The tab of LSD was mailed to him from an acquaintance in Brazil, Faucher said, noting that he had not previously tried the psychedelic drug.

"I cut off a little teeny piece about the size of a pinhead, and consumed it," he said. "I didn't like it, and I never did it again."

The retired priest said he had intended to flush the remainder of the tab down his toilet, but had not yet done so when police raided his diocese-owned home earlier this year.

Faucher's February arrest shook the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, where he had served as priest at St. Mary's for decades.

Investigators found more than 2,000 images and videos of child pornography on his computer, including depictions of torture and abuse that prosecutors described as some of the worst Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children investigators had ever seen.

PREVIOUS: Retired St. Mary's Catholic Church pastor arrested on child porn charges

Other videos on his computer depicted animals being tortured and a "snuff film" in which a woman is

actually raped and killed, prosecutors said.

Police also recovered extensive chat logs in which Faucher exchanged messages with his Brazillian friend about wanting to sexually abuse and murder a child.

"I want to do something truly evil before I die," Faucher wrote in one message, according to the

prosecution. "The thought of killing someone does begin to excite me."

Faucher's attorney, Mark Manweiler previously dismissed those messages as "roleplay" between the two men, noting that Faucher was not charged with actually molesting any children.

During the plea hearing, Manweiler argued that Faucher's bond should be reduced from $1 million to $250,000. The lawyer pointed out that Faucher had relinquished his passport and had previously been out on bail for a month without any issues.

"He's not going anywhere," Manweiler said. "He doesn't want to go anywhere, he wants to take responsibility for what he did."

Faucher's attorney decried the million-dollar bond as "frankly ridiculous," telling Judge Jason Scott that he had handled murder cases with a lower bond.

RELATED: Neighbors want retired Boise priest Faucher evicted from his home

The retired priest has had no disciplinary issues at the jail, Manweiler said, and suffers from health conditions including kidney issues and low B12, which he said could be linked to "alcohol-induced dementia."

Prosecutor Kassandra Slaven vehemently opposed reducing Faucher's bond, however, telling Judge Scott that "nothing has changed at all" about the risk the defendant poses to the community.

"His behavior was longstanding, it was alarming, and it was egregious," she said. "This was not just one drunken mistake."

Scott ultimately denied the bond reduction and ordered Faucher to undergo substance abuse and psychosexual evaluations.

As part of the plea deal, Faucher has agreed to register as a sex offender and have no contact with anyone under 18.

MORE: Boise retired priest charged in 'sadistic' child porn case back in jail

The prosecution will ask for a 30-year sentence, with 20 years before Faucher could seek parole - likely a life sentence for the septuagenarian.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 20.

Diocese of Boise Bishop Peter Christensen acknowledged the guilty plea in a statement Friday afternoon, calling the case a "painful journey."

"This has been a painful journey for the entire diocese and certainly St. Mary’s Parish where he was most recently pastor. From the moment this case opened, the Diocese of Boise has left this matter in the hands of the prosecutor and the judicial process. We are grateful to them, to the state Attorney General’s Office and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children," he said in the statement. “The Diocese of Boise continues to encourage victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and report to law enforcement officials. They may also report to the diocese’s Child, Youth and Young Adult Protection Office at 208-342-1311.”

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