Catholic Priest Indicted on Child Porn Charges in St. Louis

Thursday, 25 Apr 2013 02:45 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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A Catholic priest was indicted in St. Louis on Wednesday on child pornography possession charges involving Internet images of a boy under the age of 18. The priest's sex charges are among many others that have cast a dark cloud of scandal over the Church throughout the years.

William Vatterott, 36, was charged with possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri's indictment. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if he is convicted.

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The indictment is the latest in a series of abuse accusations to hit the U.S. Catholic Church over the past two decades. The scandals have cost the Church billions of dollars in settlements and driven prominent dioceses into bankruptcy.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said the Archdiocese of St. Louis cooperated with the investigation.

The archdiocese placed Vatterott on administrative leave in June 2011 when it first learned of the allegations, according to a statement it issued on Wednesday. Vatterott was also accused of an incident involving underage drinking and inappropriate behavior, the archdiocese said at the time.

Vatterott had served as pastor of St. Cecilia Parish since 2008, according to the archdiocese.

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The charges are among several involving priests in the last year. Last August, Kansas City priest Shawn Ratigan pleaded guilty to producing child pornography. The following month, Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of failing to report suspected child abuse when he did not report that Ratigan had the pornographic images.

Related stories:

21 Pa. Priests Suspended Over Sex Abuse Report

Catholic Register Apologizes for Priest's Abuse Comments

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