Priest Held in Child Porn Case

By Richard Burgess
Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA)
February 19, 2004

LAFAYETTE - A priest removed from his post in Morgan City because of child pornography charges has been arrested again after investigators allegedly found explicit images during a search of his home at a monastery near Opelousas.

Patrick R. Kujawa, 35, faces federal charges of possession of child pornography in connection with hundreds of illicit images federal agents said they found on his computer, according to court records filed Wednesday.

The charges come while Kujawa is on probation in connection with child pornography charges that led to his removal in 2000 from an associate pastor's job at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Morgan City.

Kujawa, who was convicted in the Morgan City case, is still officially considered a priest with the Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux but has been taken out of the ministry, said diocese spokesman Louis Aguirre.

Kujawa has been living at a Benedictine monastery near Opelousas, Aguirre said.

The priest used the monastery's address when he registered as a sex offender for his conviction in 2000.

A man who answered the phone at the monastery declined to discuss the case but said that Kujawa was not connected to the Benedictine order and was only renting a trailer there.

Aguirre said the living arrangement was part of Kujawa's plea agreement in the Morgan City case, but he did not know why. Prosecutors in that case could not be reached for comment.

Kujawa is now being held in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, where he was booked last week.

A magistrate judge has ordered him held without bond until trial, said federal prosecutor Luke Walker.

Walker said that Kujawa faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted in the federal case because he has a prior pornography conviction.

According to court documents, Kujawa was arrested in an undercover investigation of Internet sites that charged money for viewing child pornography.

Federal investigators also allege that a search of Kujawa's computer uncovered 300 digital images and 100 digital movie files of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.


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