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CONNECTICUT: FBI investigating church music director


Christ Church in Greenwich, CT  

[Episcopal News Service]  The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut issued a statement October 25, saying that it is "aware of the alleged misconduct of Robert Tate, the former organist at Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut" and that "appropriate steps are being taken and pastoral concerns addressed."

The New York Times reported October 24 that federal authorities are investigating whether the resigned longtime music director of Christ Church was involved in child pornography.

The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cybercrimes squad in New Haven, Connecticut, Tim Egan, told the Times "there is a pending investigation" into the matter, but declined to comment further.

Susan Marks, a spokeswoman for Christ Church said in the Times article that Tate had recently resigned, and that the church's membership had been notified. She referred all other questions to the church's lawyer, Eugene J. Riccio.

"All I want to say is I cannot comment on this matter at this point," Riccio told the Times.

Bishop Andrew Smith of Connecticut extended his support, the diocesan statement said, "to the parishioners and clergy of Christ Church as they move through this difficult time."

The Times reported that it was unclear whether the reputed pornographic images that piqued the criminal investigation were stored on a church-owned computer or not.

"It's hard to tell whose computer was whose," said a federal official familiar with the investigation.

The church's website says that the parish has a number of professional and volunteer choirs for adults and children. Children can begin singing in a choir in kindergarten. A brochure on the website says the parish has more than 120 choristers singing in five choirs.

The brochure says one of the choirs tours each summer, often in Europe. Choristers aged 8-13 are paid a small allowance for their attendance at services and rehearsals, according to the brochure. The pay increases with experience and extra sums are paid for singing at weddings, funerals and concerts.

The website lists Amanda Hanzlik as the interim director of music, as well as James Kennerley as organ scholar and Matthew Brown as vocal scholar.

The Times reported that a biography of Tate, that until recently was on the Web, said he came to Christ Church from the National Cathedral in Washington, where he was assistant organist. He got a master's degree in 1968 from the College of Church Musicians at Washington Cathedral and then studied at the Juilliard School in Manhattan, according to the biography.