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Priest Gets Probation

Priest Gets Two Years Probation

A former Leesburg Catholic priest was sentenced to two years probation for attempting to possess child pornography, by a Loudoun Circuit judge Monday, Dec. 12.

Robert Brooks, 73, was the pastor of St. John Apostle Catholic Church in Leesburg.

The investigation of the former priest began in September 2003, when members of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, discovered that Brooks had registered to a child pornography Web site. ICE monitors the Internet under "Operation Falcon," an undercover federal investigation that observes child pornography Web sites.

In January 2004, ICE questioned Brooks and in February 2004, he was indicted by a Loudoun grand jury.

"It took ICE one year to determine who had gone to the site," Troxell said.

The Sheriff's Office weren't notified of the investigation until September 2004, because it took a year for the federal authorities to determine who it was who was logging on the site. Brooks left his post after the county's Commonwealth Attorney notified the Diocese of the allegations.

In October, Brooks plead no contest to one felony count of attempting to possess child pornography in a Loudoun Circuit Court.

On Monday, Dec. 12, the judge sentenced Brooks to three years in jail, with all three years suspended. He will serve two years probation and must enroll in a sexual offender treatment program.

Mildred Veltri was a parishioner at Brook’s former church, St. Ambrose Church in Annandale.

"He was anxious to do a lot of good and he did while he was there," Veltri said. "He married six of my children and baptized 13 of my grandchildren."

<1b>— Kim Centazzo