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  Priest Faces Pornography Counts

The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
January 14, 2000

MORGAN CITY - A Roman Catholic priest accused of pulling an extensive collection of child pornography off the Internet has been arrested at a Pennsylvania hospital, where the church sent him for evaluation.

The Rev. Patrick Kujawa, 31, an associate pastor at Holy Cross Church, was charged with 62 counts of possession of child pornography.

Police Chief Steele Viccellio said he was waiting to hear if Kujawa would return without objection or if extradition proceedings would be needed.

The FBI and Morgan City police have been investigating Kujawa since last week when a housekeeper found 220 photos in the Holy Cross rectory.

Kujawa began his career in 1995 as a priest at St. Francis de Sales in Houma.

Diocese attorneys gave photos to the district attorney in St. Mary Parish and the Morgan City police. Investigators confiscated Kujawa's computer and videotapes.

"All of the photos were downloaded from the Internet," Viccellio said. "... Only 62 of them were positively identified as involving children."According to authorities, those photos were of boys. The rest of the pictures depicted adult males.

If convicted of all 62 counts, Kujawa could receive 620 years in prison.

"We are saddened to hear about this," said Louis Aguirre, spokesman for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux. "We now leave it in the hands of the authorities."Aguirre said Kujawa has been accused in the past of inappropriate behavior with children in the church confessional. While Kujawa was working in Houma, two parents accused Kujawa of asking inappropriate sexual questions to their children in the church confessional. Aguirre said the incidents were not reported to police and were handled internally.

"Monsignor (Joseph) Latino cautioned him about what he was doing, and it was taken care of," Aguirre said.

Diocese officials relieved Kujawa of his duties and sent him to a hospital in Pennsylvania for a psychological evaluation.

 
 

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