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Downstate priest faces trial next month on drug, child pornography charges

The Rev. Gerald Hechenberger, from the Belleville diocese, is charged with possessing, distributing kiddie porn and having methamphetamine.

The Rev. Gerald Hechenberger, from the Belleville diocese, is charged with possessing, distributing kiddie porn and having methamphetamine. | St. Clair County court

A downstate priest is slated to go on trial after the new year on child porn and drug charges.

The Rev. Gerald Hechenberger, who’s been part of the Diocese of Belleville, was arrested earlier this year and is no longer in ministry.

His criminal trial is expected to begin in January, according to prosecutors. He is charged with possessing and distributing kiddie porn and having methamphetamine.

He studied to become a priest in the 1990s at an Ohio seminary then run by Blase Cupich, now Chicago’s cardinal.

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