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Crime & Justice

Diocese: Fairbanks Priest Held on Federal Child-pornography Charges was Screened

A Fairbanks Catholic priest accused of trying to produce child pornography underwent a two-stage screening process as part of his hiring and ordination.

57-year-old Clint Michael Landry was arrested Friday after a federal grand jury indicted him earlier last week on one count of attempted production of child pornography and one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor to participate in the production of the porn.

According to the indictment, the latter charge stems from Landry’s alleged attempt to get a youth to, quote, “engage in sexually explicit conduct” on May 18th and 19th. The indictment states that Landry planned to transmit a live depiction of that conduct.

Ronnie Rosenberg is director of human resources for the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks, and she’s also its legal coordinator. Rosenberg says officials with the diocese responded immediately when they learned about the alleged incidents.

“As soon as we thought that there may be a problem with computer usage, the computers were secured and we called the Alaska State Troopers. They in turn turned it over to the FBI,” she said.

The diocese placed also Landry on leave that week.

Rosenberg can’t go into detail about the case, but she says the diocese followed its policy in responding to the situation.

“We immediately report anything suspicious, any kind of suspicious activity of this nature, to law enforcement so that we don’t taint an investigation,” she said. “We let law enforcement take it from there.”

Landry served as priest at Sacred Heart Cathedral after he was ordained there in 2011. He came here in 2009 from New Orleans, where he taught school.

Rosenberg says the Fairbanks diocese screened Landry, as it does for all prospective employees. And then subjected him to additional screening that the diocese requires for those seeking the priesthood – and those who’ll be working with children and youths.

“Well, he would go through our standard clergy screening. And that was done prior to his coming here, while he was still a candidate in the seminary,” she said. “And then when he moved here, it was repeated.”

The indictment doesn’t identify the alleged victim. It states the person is under age 18 and identifies him or her using only the initials “C.J.”

Landry was arraigned Friday afternoon in Fairbanks via video teleconference with a federal judge and prosecutor in Anchorage.

Court documents say a bail hearing is set for Friday. A trial by jury is scheduled for Dec. 22 before U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline.

If convicted, Landry faces up to 30 years in prison on the porn-production count, and up to 10 years for the attempted coercion count. He also faces up to a quarter-million-dollar fine for each count, and the possibility of lifetime supervised release after serving time.

Court documents state Fairbanks attorney Bill Satterberg was retained as Landry’s counsel. Satterberg declined comment Monday, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon did not return a phone call.

Editor’s note: This story has been revised to report that Attorney Bill Satterberg declined to comment on the case, and that U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon did not respond to a request for comment.