QUEENS, NY — Rev. Francis Hughes, 65, a pastor at a religious institution in Queens, New York, is charged with receiving images of child pornography via text from a 15-year-old boy in Westchester, New York, with whom Hughes was engaging in sexually explicit text communications. Huges met the victim on the Grindr app. Hughes was arrested this morning.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “The allegations against Francis Hughes are chilling and frightening to any parent. A person who, by the nature of his profession, is presumed to be trustworthy allegedly victimized a child. Thanks to the FBI, Hughes now faces a serious federal charge.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “We expect adults, especially those in positions of trust like Francis Hughes, to protect our children, not victimize them. Sadly, these allegations demonstrate there are still predators out there who abuse this trust. If you or anyone you know may have been a victim of Rev. Hughes, we are asking you contact us at 1-800-CALL-FBI. If you are a parent or guardian, please take a moment to have a discussion with your children about protecting themselves and about how they can report the type of predatory behavior that is alleged here today.”
On February 16, 2020, Hughes communicated by text messages with a 15-year-old boy (“Minor-1”). During the course of the text communications, among other things, Minor-1 sent Hughes three images of Minor-1’s penis. Upon receiving one of the images, Hughes responded, among other things, “Yummmmm I will suck you so much” and “Make you cum.” — “How would you like to be spoiled by your grandpa?” — “We can try to make it a regular thing.”
During the communications, Hughes told Minor-1 that he was a part-time college professor and a counselor.
There may be more victims. If you have information to report, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-CALL-FBI.