Church employee arrested for child pornography - WFLA News Channel 8

Church employee arrested for child pornography

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A long-time employee of a prominent South Tampa church is under arrest and facing serious charges related to child pornography.

Federal authorities are charging Michael Alan Klevene, 61 of Tampa, with multiple counts of possession and distribution of child pornography.

Klevene worked for 20 years as a maintenance employee at the Hyde Park United Methodist Church.

Lead pastor, Dr. James Harnish says he's known Klevene the entire time he's worked at the church, but Klevene never did anything to raise suspicions. Dr. Harnish says, "Mike was a very private person, pretty much to himself."

This weekend, Dr. Harnish informed his congregation of the arrest. He told them there is no evidence of any wrongdoing at the church. Dr. Harnish says there are several safeguards to protect children while they are on church property. Dr. Harnish says, "Every employee, every volunteer who serves in children our youth ministry, they all undergo periodic background checks, they have annual training in child protection."

According to a federal criminal complaint, Klevene told the investigators he was surprised to be arrested. He thought he only sent the images to people who had previously sent the images to him.

The criminal complaint also says Klevene admitted to collecting the graphic images of children and that he had been doing so for the past 20 years.

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