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Cathedral's ex-music director pleads guilty in child porn case

Michael Wustrow in 2013.

Michael Wustrow in 2013. Photo Credit: File photo

The former co-director of music at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre pleaded guilty Thursday to a child pornography charge in federal court in Central Islip.

Michael Wustrow, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography. In admitting to downloading the child pornography to his cellphone in 2016, Wustrow apologized for his actions.

When he is sentenced in January, Wustrow faces between five to 20 years in prison. As part of the plea deal, federal prosecutors dropped a charge of possession of child pornography.

Wustrow worked at the cathedral from 1993 to 2017, directing several youth choirs and the adult choir at the cathedral, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Rockville Centre. 

He was removed from his position in 2017 when the diocese learned that the FBI was investigating him for “possible charges of child exploitation,” and agents had used a search warrant to seize his work computer, the diocese said at the time.

The diocese's director of communications, Sean Dolan, said in a statement Thursday, that: "The Diocese and the Parish of St. Agnes are confident in the process that has resulted in Mr. Wustrow’s guilty plea. We understand from law enforcement that the underlying investigation did not reveal that any children from the Parish or the Diocese were victims of Mr. Wustrow’s criminal activities.”

Wustrow’s attorney, Joseph Conway, said outside of court that there was no suggestion his client had sexual relations with minors, and no child pornography was found on his work computer. “He has admitted his guilt and accepts full responsibility for his actions," Conway said. 

Since his arrest this year, Wustrow has been held without bond as a danger to the community.

Wustrow had also been a fixture in the world of sacred music, on the board of a major national choral organization, and playing the organ at prestigious venues such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.

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