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Men [of God] at work in Florida

06 Apr 2001

FLORIDA

MIAMI - The Archdiocese of Miami began the fingerprinting of priests, lay workers and church volunteers as a response to allegations of misconduct by priests.

Abp. John Favalora and his bishops, setting an example, were among the 3,800 church workers being fingerprinted. Bishops in Florida have voted to fingerprint all personnel who deal with children, the elderly or disabled people. Bishops around the state have said the plan is necessary because the church has a responsibility to not only serve people, but protect them, particularly children.

The most recent case of alleged sexual impropriety involved Fr. Joseph Cinesi. He has denied the allegations of stalking and exposing himself, but resigned as pastor of a Broward County, Fla., parish in Sept.

The policy also is being carried out in schools and charities and is in practice in other dioceses in the state. UPI, 11/12/99

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TAMPA - A church deacon already accused of Internet sex crime against a teen-age girl faced more sexual extortion charges for allegedly terrorizing 5 other high school and college students. Robert Harvey Alexander, 41, a deacon at the First Baptist Church in Tampa, was being held in lieu of $150,000 bond after an appearance in federal court to advise him of the 5 additional charges.

Three 21-year-old students at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and two students at Plantation High School in Florida were the latest alleged victims of attempts to engage them in telephone and cybersex, federal agents said. Frank Gallagher, head of Tampa's FBI office, said the new charges grew out of interviews with people named on a "Victim's List." Agents seized the list with 99 names and e-mail addresses on it when they arrested Alexander for using the Internet in an attempt to extort a 16-year-old girl.

All of those on the list received virtually identical messages threatening to destroy their reputations unless they engaged in phone or computer sex with the sender. Gallagher called it "cyberterrorism" because of the fear created in the recipients. One women told her father, an assistant federal public defender, about the message. Another contacted university officials.

Investigators are trying to reach other women included on the list. So far, have traced 17 of them, and are continuing their search. Prosecutors said they hope the new charges will bolster their claim that Alexander is a methodical and dangerous sexual predator. AP, 11/11/99

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TAMPA - A former Forest Hills pastor has been arrested and charged with receiving child pornography after federal agents searched his church-owned home and found at least one homemade videotape showing a child being molested.

Lawrence Kilbourn, 43, was arrested 4 days after his congregation at Forest Hills United Methodist Church was told that he had resigned from his post because of a "sexual addiction."

Kilbourn's 17-year-old daughter turned her father in to authorities about a month ago after she discovered footage of a man molesting a young girl on a videotape of church activities, said FBI task force agent Robert Sheehan.

She couldn't see the man's face in the video, but she recognized a ring that looked just like the one her father once wore and had given to her.

More than 200 videotapes and 15,000 computer files were seized from Kilbourn's church-owned home in north Hillsborough County, and were being reviewed, said Sheehan. At least one home videotape shows a young child being molested. The computer files also contain child and adult pornography, Sheehan said.

Investigators are also checking allegations that Kilbourn had improper contact with members of his church youth group as well as children from the church day care. A dozen families, all with children in the church's youth group, have stepped forward with the allegations, police said.

Kilbourn was being held in jail in lieu of $80,000 bail, the amount of equity in his elderly parents' home. The judge also set strict guidelines for his release, including no contact with minors, no computer access and electronic monitoring of his whereabouts.

At a court hearing, Sheehan testified that Kilbourn admitted making the videotape and possessing computer files, some of which depicted toddler and preadolescent children posed or engaged in sexual conduct. Kilbourn admitted he had made another videotape with child pornography about a year ago and that he was unable to stop himself from molesting children, the agent said.

The tape his daughter saw was made 5 years ago in Bradenton, where Kilbourn once worked at another church, he added.

Kilbourn's attorney said the charges are "traumatic" for Kilbourn's family. Kilbourn's daughter moved out of her father's home Oct. 12 and moved to Tallahassee to live with her mother, Sheehan said.

Kilbourn is divorced and has 3 daughters. He was pastor at the 500-member church for 16 months. An interim pastor has been named to the church.

Dave Brazelton, a United Methodist official, stripped Kilbourn of his church credentials and accepted his resignation. "I had felt really hurt for Larry," he said, "and now it's switched to any potential victims." AP 10/23

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