the last word on local youth pastor Matthew Nichols
Former Los Alamos ELCA youth pastor Matthew Nichols was sentenced March 3 pursuant to his June 2010 guilty plea to charges of distribution of child pornography. The only details I’ve been able to find are available from the Department of Justice press release [PDF]. Nothing I’ve seen in the press adds anything to what’s contained in the press release that we didn’t already know.
I don’t have anything to add here. To my knowledge the folks at Bethlehem Lutheran in Los Alamos followed their denomination’s guidelines in vetting Nichols before hiring him; because his initial felony conviction in Pennsylvania did not require him to register as a sex offender, much less do so when he relocated to New Mexico, and because his conviction occurred so long ago, I have a hard time finding fault with the precautions they took. After all, he apparently served the Espanola school district as well, and they in principle have more resources to devote to this sort of thing. And it’s worth noting that Nichols has not been arrested in the meantime for misconduct involving any of the children in his charge at the church.