Former Rapid City priest pleads not guilty to sex charges

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A former Rapid City priest has pleaded not guilty to federal charges alleging he had sexual contact with a minor and possessed child pornography.

Marcin Garbacz, 42, entered his not guilty plea Tuesday to one count of possessing child pornography between July 2011 and May 2019 and one count of “engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place” by traveling to another country and having sexual contact with a boy under the age of 18.

It was Garbacz’s second court appearance in two days. Earlier this week, he was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison following his conviction on 65 financial crimes related to the theft of nearly $260,000 in cash donations from the diocese.

Court records show an FBI agent came across child pornography on one of Garbacz’s thumb drives while investigating the the financial crimes.

The Rapid City Journal reported the child pornography charge carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison while the other charge has a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison.

Prosecutor Benjamin Patterson declined to share which country Garbacz allegedly traveled to and whether any victims were students from the Rapid City Catholic School System, where Garbacz used to work.