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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 1, 2021

Lutheran Pastor Sentenced for Distribution of Child Pornography

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.
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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher R. Hoell and Karelia S.
Rajagopal.
 

Updated October 1, 2021