Former Area Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges

By Richard Burgess
Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA)
April 6, 2004

LAFAYETTE - A former Morgan City priest faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to federal child pornography charges.

Patrick R. Kujawa, 35, may also face an additional 60 years in prison if a state judge revokes his probation on prior pornography charges.

Federal agents arrested Kujawa earlier this year after finding explicit images during a search of his home.

The arrest came while Kujawa was on probation after he pleaded guilty in 2000 to 15 counts of possessing child pornography. The charges resulted in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodeaux removing the priest from his post as associate pastor at Holy Cross Church in Morgan City.

He had been living at a Benedictine monastery near Prairie Ronde, where a judge had ordered him to stay when not working or attending therapy.

Kujawa was arrested again earlier this year in an undercover investigation of Internet sites that charged money for viewing child pornography.

Prosecutors said that a search of Kujawa's computer uncovered 300 digital images and 100 digital movie files of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

As a second offender on pornography charges, Kujawa faces a minimum of 10 and up to 20 years in prison on the new federal charges. He also could be sentenced to submit to court supervision for the rest of his life.

Sixteenth Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney, whose office handles prosecutors in Morgan City, said that Kujawa's guilty plea in the federal system will probably result in his probation being revoked on the state charges.

"I would say he's going to bite the bullet on ours," Haney said.

He said that Kujawa could face up to 60 years, the amount of prison time that he would have originally faced had he not been sentenced to probation.


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