Society
Society

Former Priest Sentenced To Prison For Child Porn

| by Jimmy King

A former Catholic priest was sentenced to prison for allegedly viewing child pornography.  The Kentucky pastor, who was also accused of taking photos of children at his parish's school, will serve 33 months behind bars.

Pastor Stephen Pohl was not charged with any crime regarding the pictures, however, as those photographed were clothed, reports AP. 

Parents of children in Pohl’s former parish expressed shock and dismay at the revelations about the pastor.

“We’re completely devastated, heartbroken,” said Christeena Gallahue, mother of a child at the Louisville school.

In his hearing, the priest apologized for the “sadness, pain and anger” he caused at the parish.

The Louisville Archdiocese released a statement affirming “respect [for] Fr. Pohl’s decision to accept responsibility for his actions.”

Parents Christeena and Richard Gallahue are pressing charges against the Louisville Archdiocese, claiming that the church should have done more to protect the parish’s children.

“You can imagine, if there were hundreds of pictures of kids clothed, while not evidence of criminal activity, but there are hundreds of pictures -- there had to have been some degree of awareness,” said William McMurry, the parents’ attorney.  “It’s reckless to not be able to identify someone so obviously demented as Stephen Pohl.”

The sentencing of the Kentucky priest comes as the Catholic Church faces upheaval over sexual abuse allegations.  While many have criticized the church’s response to the scandal, Pope Francis has taken steps to crack down on sexual abuse perpetrators.

In a September 2015 address, the pope said “I commit to the careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected,” reports the New York Times.

Pope Francis has been accused of not taking a strong enough stance against child abuse in the Catholic church. He did not meet with victims of sexual abuse until 15 months into his new job.

“I beg your forgiveness for the sins of omission on the part of church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” the pope said in a meeting with abuse victims.

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