APPLETON – A 48-year-old pastor has been convicted of four counts of possession of child pornography and one count of meth possession.
Rick E. Haberland, former pastor of Oneida United Methodist Church, pleaded no contest to all five charges Friday morning during a plea hearing in Outagamie County Circuit Court. A no-contest plea accepts a guilty verdict without admitting or denying any guilt.
Haberland also formerly served as a pastor at United Methodist Church in De Pere, Suring and Hickory United Methodist Churches in Suring, Phillips United Methodist Church in Phillips and Tabor United Methodist Church in Eden.
During the course of the investigation, police linked Haberland with a Skype account and email address involved in multiple exchanges of child pornography.
On Feb. 23, police executed search warrants at Oneida United Methodist Church and Haberland's nearby residence, during which they seized his phone. A digital forensic examiner estimated Haberland's phone had more than 150 videos depicting sexual abuse of children, in addition to written statements about sexual abuse of infant to 12-year-old boys, according to a criminal complaint.
During the search at Haberland's residence, investigators found 1.2 grams of meth in his bedroom closet, the criminal complaint said.
Haberland was initially charged with 13 counts of possession of child pornography, but nine were dismissed.
Haberland's sentencing hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 14.
This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: Former Oneida pastor convicted of child pornography and meth possession