Former East Windsor Priest Sentenced to Prison for Explosives and Firearms Offenses
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that PAUL GOTTA, 58, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford to nine months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for explosives and firearms offenses.
According to court documents and statements made in court, GOTTA was a Catholic priest who resided at the rectory of St. Philip Church in East Windsor. In July 2012, GOTTA provided $350 in cash to a 17-year-old male and asked the teenager to purchase a handgun for him in Arizona. GOTTA knew that it was illegal for the teen to purchase firearms, but that he had obtained fake identification to do so. In November 2012, GOTTA aided the teen in the purchase of thousands of rounds of handgun ammunition.
GOTTA also helped the teen to build a pipe bomb. On two occasions in December 2012, GOTTA purchased two pounds of explosives powder at Riverview Gun Sales in East Windsor and distributed it to the teen. He also purchased other component parts for a pipe bomb in the following months.
In addition, in May and June 2013, GOTTA provided false information to law enforcement regarding alleged criminal offenses being committed by the teen, and failed to acknowledge his own role in the acquisition of the handgun, ammunition and pipe bomb parts.
GOTTA was arrested on July 19, 2013. On March 8, 2016, he pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly and willfully distributing an explosive material to an individual who was under 21 years of age.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the East Windsor Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert M. Spector.
Updated March 24, 2017