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  S.I. Priest Charged in Web Site Sex Sting

By Bill Egbert
Daily News (New York)
October 6, 1999

A Staten Island priest was charged yesterday with traveling to New Jersey for the purpose of having sex with a 15-year-old boy.

The youth, "Jay," actually was an undercover FBI agent who had begun communicating on the Internet last month with the Rev. Morgan Kuhl, 32, of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, according to charges filed by the FBI.

Kuhl was not wearing his clerical collar when he was arrested yesterday at Washington Park in Perth Amboy, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Donna Krappa.

Agents found four unopened condoms in Kuhl's car, the charges said. They also found a printout of the undercover agent's E-mail, confirming plans to meet in baseball field bleachers in the park.

Kuhl admitted to agents that he had a computer in his Port Richmond rectory office and was in Perth Amboy "to possibly have sex" with the 15-year-old, the charges state.

U.S. Magistrate John Hughes released Kuhl on $ 50,000 bond and barred him from any contact with minors unless another adult was present.

No plea was entered at the hearing to the single count, interstate travel to have sex with a minor, which carries up to 10 years in prison.

New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said it was "too early at this point" to say what action, if any, would be taken regarding Kuhl.

The archdiocese is not aware of any other charges or complaints against Kuhl, who was ordained in 1993, he said. Kuhl has been administrator of St. Mary in Port Richmond since November, Zwilling said. An administrator is in charge of a parish until a pastor is appointed and is responsible for celebrating Mass, as well as handling the church budget, he said.

Zwilling said he did not know if Kuhl worked with children. Prior to that, Kuhl was a parochial vicar, or assistant priest, at Holy Child Church in Annadale, Staten Island, Zwilling said.

A person answering the phone last night at St. Mary referred questions to Zwilling.

Holy Child could not be reached for comment.

 
 

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