Thomas Faucher

Father Thomas Faucher, 73, waits to be wheeled back to prison in a wheelchair after being sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole Dec. 20, at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise. 

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BOISE — The Vatican has formally cut ties with W. Thomas Faucher, a former Boise priest who pleaded guilty last year to some of the most violent, depraved child pornography seen in recent Ada County history.

Faucher, 74, pleaded guilty to five felonies and was sentenced in December to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

On Saturday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise issued a news release announcing the Vatican’s decision. The Diocese said that Bishop Peter Christensen informed Faucher of the decision, which the Vatican called “serious and unappealable,” according to the release. That means Faucher will no longer be able to call himself a priest or exercise any of the duties of a clergy member.

The sentencing of Faucher revealed troubling evidence about the online conversations Faucher had prior to his arrest. It included his desires to rape and kill children as young as infants. Prosecutors said they found more than 2,000 photos and videos depicting child sexual abuse on Faucher’s computer and phone. His attorney claimed that the conversations were “role play” with a fellow author.

The letter from Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that Faucher’s case was presented to Pope Francis, after which the pope decreed that Faucher is involuntarily laicized, or removed, from “the clerical state,” according to the Diocese of Boise. Faucher did oppose the laicization, exercising his right of defense through a canonical advocate, who presented his case to the Vatican.

“This news, while certainly anticipated given the overwhelming gravity of these charges, is nevertheless deeply saddening for the Diocese of Boise, particularly for those at St. Mary’s parish who most recently had been entrusted to his care, a trust he so egregiously violated,” Christensen said in the news release. “There are no excuses for such behavior by any one of our clergy.”

Through the news release, the bishop urged Catholics and all people of goodwill to pray for the victims of child pornography or any form of child abuse, as well as for all of those, including Faucher, “who fall into such depravity, placing the eternal welfare of their souls in serious jeopardy.”

The bishop has informed Faucher that he is willing to meet with him at any time at his request.

Faucher has a pending appeal in his legal case regarding the severity of his sentence, but the state has asked for another extension to respond and plans to do so by November.

This article originally ran on magicvalley.com.

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