BRIDGEPORT - The former Greenwich church choir director who pleaded guilty to child pornography possession charges was sentenced to five and a half years in federal prison Thursday.

Robert Tate, 66, must also pay a $50,000 fine and participate in sex offender treatment.

Tate was the choir director at Christ Church for 34 years. Last year, Tate admitted he collected more than 150 sexually explicit images of children, some under the age of 12. After the confession, Tate went into treatment at a rehab center for sex offenders in Minnesota.

?I?ve struggled all my life with sexual attraction to young boys,? Tate said during his sentencing. ?I was abused myself, but that is no excuse for what I did. I?m deeply ashamed of it.?

Federal prosecutors said Tate, while under treatment, later confessed to sexually abusing minors. Tate was not charged for that crime. Prosecutors also said Tate picked up boy prostitutes in New York and brought them back to his church apartment. They said Tate also made trips to Thailand to have sex with boys.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, prosecutors revealed Tate allegedly allowed two sexual predators to remain in the church?s choir at various times. Prosecutors also revealed that Tate did not tell police when a known pedophile that he rehired at the church sexually assaulted a choir boy.

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