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Former Greeley pastor indicted on child porn charges

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GREELEY, Colo. -- He’s supposed to be the spiritual and moral leader of a church.

But a Colorado pastor is in big trouble for his connection to child pornography.

Richard Craft, 68, of Thornton, appeared in Federal Court Friday after a grand jury indicted him Monday.

Craft faces four counts involving distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography.

Federal prosecutors claim it happened July 2007 to January 2008--and again in December 2009.

“It’s concerning because there’s a lot of children that live on the street,” says neighbor Melissa Smith, a mother of five kids.

Neighbors say they knew something was wrong two years ago with the neighbor who lives at this house.

“We were alerted by a neighbor through an email when the initial investigation took place,” says Smith.

FBI agents searched Richard Craft’s Thornton home in December 2009, after an agent in Philadelphia connected to a public, file-sharing program coming from Craft’s computer at his house.

“Nobody really wanted to jump to conclusions until his arrest was made,“ says another neighbor who didn’t want to be identified.

Still neighbors didn’t take chances with their kids.

 “We were very, very upfront in telling them, if the ball goes into their yard, you come get us, we’ll get it. We didn’t Trick-or-Treat for the last 2 years. So we’ve been very cautious,” says the same neighbor with two boys, 11 and 13 years old.

“I think some neighbors have definitely been keeping their distance. Other neighbors have just been watching their children more vigilantly,” says Smith.

Craft’s LinkedIn page claims he’s been a pastor for 40 years--and interim pastor at Family of Christ Presbyterian Church in Greeley for more than four-and-a-half years.

But a spokesperson said he’d only served there for 8 months.

In a written statement, Daniel Saperstein, the executive presbyter said, “We are saddened and concerned by the news of the federal indictment of Richard Craft….”

He says Craft most recently served at First Presbyterian Church in Loveland in March to June 2010.

Neighbors are just relieved to finally have some answers.

 “This goes to show you, you’d never think, it would be the person next door. And it is my next-door-neighbor.”

Craft faces no less than five years prison time if he’s convicted, and no more than 20.

He also faces fines up to $250,000.

Craft was released on bond Friday.