Pennsylvania priest jailed over child porn

Pennsylvania priest jailed over child porn

Pennsylvania priest jailed over child porn

Monsignor John S. Mraz. (Credit: File photo.)

Monsignor John S. Mraz pleaded guilty in June to possessing child pornography and related offenses. Court records say authorities began investigating Mraz last year, after a member of his church discovered a file link named “naked little boys.”

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania — A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania caught with child pornography by someone helping with his computer is going to jail.

The Morning Call of Allentown reported 67-year-old Monsignor John S. Mraz apologized and was sentenced Thursday to six to 23 months. He’ll have to register as a sex offender for 15 years, and cannot have any unsupervised contact with minors.

He pleaded guilty in June to possessing child pornography and related offenses, but had asked for probation or house arrest due to health issues, including diabetes and a heart condition.

Judge Maria L. Dantos rejected this request, but did make a point of clarifying Mraz had not been accused of child molestation.

“Any time there is a case such as this and the headlines say ‘priest arrested,’ there are visions of sexual molestation, which we don’t have here,” Dantos said, according to The Morning Call.

Court records say authorities began investigating Mraz last year, after a member of his church discovered a file link named “naked little boys.”

After the police were informed, they found internet searches on the device for search terms associated with child pornography, including “handcuffed nude boys.”

Mraz was formerly with St. Ann Catholic Church in Emmaus, and was once chaplain at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. He’s also a former teacher at Central Catholic High School in Allentown.

He has been suspended from priestly ministry by the Diocese of Allentown, and cannot present himself as a priest in public.

“I express my deep sorrow for what I’ve done, especially since it’s scandalized the good people of my parish,” Mraz told the court.

Last month, a New Jersey priest was sentenced to 11½ to 23½ months in the Wayne County jail after a collection of computerized child pornography was found at his weekend home in Pennsylvania.

Father Kevin Gugliotta had previously been suspended from ministry in 2003 for allegedly molesting a teenage boy in the 1980s. But because the incident occurred when he was still a layman and before he entered the priesthood, the Archdiocese of Newark ruled he could not be punished and quietly reinstated him in 2004.

On Friday, it was revealed an unidentified priest serving as a Vatican diplomat based in Washington was accused of violating child pornography laws and recalled to Rome. A Vatican criminal investigation has begun in the case.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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