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Published: Friday, 3/28/2008

Local minister convicted on criminal charges

BLADE STAFF
Richard Brown III Richard Brown III
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The associate minister at a local church and a former Toledo Public Schools board candidate was found guilty this morning on misdemeanor charges that he procured prostitution and disseminated pornographic materials to juveniles.

The misdemeanor charges against Richard Brown III, 34, were filed in a bill of information. Previous felony charges of child endangering will be dismissed at his April 30 sentencing.

He faces up to 1 years of local incarceration when sentenced.

According to Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun, a computer taken from Mr. Brown s home during a search warrant last year showed several e-mails between Mr. Brown and male acquaintances. The e-mails, all sent between 2001 and 2003, indicated conversations where Mr. Brown was attempting to set up the men for sex with both men and women. Prices for specific sex acts were included in the e-mails, Mr. Braun said.

Also found on the computer was an abundance of pornography.

Mr. Brown, an associate minister at Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave., was also convicted of a dissemination charge for allowing minor boys to view pornographic DVDs.

Mr. Brown declined to comment after the plea but released a statement that he intends to read to Judge Linda Jennings had he been sentenced. The statement said that the "e-mails to adult friends contained comments of such a nature that if taken out of context of our relationship as friends could be viewed as procurement."

He continued that the e-mails occurred during a time when he was not "actively involved in church as a youth pastor" as well as prior to his employment by the City of Toledo as a staff auditor for the city council.

Original allegations against Mr. Brown included corporal punishment of young boys as well as coercing boys to pose for inappropriate photographs.



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