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HomeIllinois NewsGodfrey Lutheran Pastor Sentenced for Distribution of Child Pornography

Godfrey Lutheran Pastor Sentenced for Distribution of Child Pornography



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EAST ST. LOUIS, ILL. – Steven P. Tibbetts, 62, of Godfrey, Illinois, was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for knowingly distributing child pornography in December 2019. The Court further ordered Tibbetts to pay $10,000 in restitution to victims who were depicted in some of the videos and photographs, according to an FBI press release.

Court documents and evidence showed that Tibbetts began viewing and distributing child pornography starting in the 1990s and continued until his arrest in June 2020. Furthermore, while Tibbetts was on pre-trial release for the charged offense, an officer located additional devices in his home, which were later found to contain child pornography. The  instant  offense  involved 2,430 images of child pornography and 408 videos containing child pornography.

Tibbetts has served as a Lutheran pastor since 1992. At the time the complaint was filed, Tibbetts was employed as the head pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Godfrey, Illinois. In imposing the sentence, the Court noted that “The defendant was living two lives of sorts.”

FBI Springfield Division and Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Significant assistance was provided in the early stages of the investigation by the Peoria (Illinois) Police Department.

So who is this person? Here's a little bit from his Twitter feed … 

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He became pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in 2019:

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But before that, he served nearly 30 years at the Zion Lutheran Church in Peoria. Tibbetts left that church when the worshippers chose to disband – after the church lost regular members from more than 100 down to 20 or less. 

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From the linked story: 

“We had gotten to the point where the people who were part of the church were too few and too old,” Tibbetts said a few days after the last service at 1534 S. Easton Ave.

“It’s just been a long, slow decline,” he said. “Part of it is people die. Part of is people move away. Part of it is people not being able to be active anymore because of age, illness or family issues.”

None of these issues was new. When Tibbetts first became Zion Lutheran pastor almost 27 years ago, church members were concerned about the parish’s viability.

The FBI report says Tibbett's interest in child pornography went back to the 1990s. 


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