Illinois Catholic priest charged with child pornography

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A Catholic priest has been arrested in southern Illinois on child pornography charges.

Belleville police say the Rev. Gerald R. Hechenberger was arrested after detectives found images and videos of child pornography and drug paraphernalia at Holy Childhood Church and school in Mascoutah where Hechenberger is associate pastor. He was charged Tuesday with child pornography and possession of methamphetamine. The 54-year-old Hechenberger remains in custody after his bail was set at $2 million. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that police launched an investigation after receiving a tip from a group called Internet Crimes Against Children.

In a statement, Belleville Diocese Bishop Edward K. Braxton says the diocese has not received any information that any parishioners “are affected by this matter.”