Porn Scandal Rocks Church

News 24 [Austria]
July 11, 2004

Vienna - A huge pornography scandal hit the Catholic church in Austria at the weekend after the discovery of 40 000 photos and a number of films at a priests' seminary at St Poelten west of Vienna.

The revelations came in the Monday edition of the magazine Profil, published in advance on Sunday. The seminary chief, Ulrich Kuechl, was already forced to resign earlier this month with first reports of the scandal, allegedly including child pornography.

Profil said Kuechl's deputy Wolfgang Rothe also submitted his resignation. Rothe is secretary and legal advisor to Bishop of St Poelten Diocese Kurt Krenn.

The report said that some of the seminary leaders had joined in "sex games" and allowed themselves to be photographed.

Profil quoted allegations of drunken orgies in the seminar building where "Nazi slogans were also heard". Trainee priests had downloaded child pornography pictures.

A computer confiscated half a year ago, which started the affair, had been "overloaded" with sex pages mostly originating in Poland.

Bishop Krenn confirmed on television on Sunday that he had seen pictures of the seminary leaders in compromising positions with students.

Krenn, aged 68, with a reputation as an ultra-conservative in matters of Catholic dogma, said the pictures had "nothing to do with homosexuality". They were "foolish" boyish pranks, he said.

The magazine said the scandal had been uncovered by church officials in the diocese.

This group raised serious charges against Krenn, and approached the Vatican with the aim of having him removed as bishop.


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