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  Priest, 52, Indicted in Child Porn Case

By Tom Bower
Express-News [San Antonio TX]
April 27, 2005

A 52-year-old Catholic priest on probation for indecent exposure was indicted Tuesday on four counts of possession of child pornography.

Pornographic images were discovered by a cable service technician at the priest's Leon Valley home, according to a 2004 affidavit.

Father Jerzy Sieczynski, former associate pastor of St. Matthew Catholic Church, is accused of having photo images of boys engaged in sexual conduct on his laptop computer, First Assistant District Attorney Michael Bernard said Tuesday.

"There were hundreds of (images), but we only charged him with possession of four of them," Bernard said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Sieczynski remained in Bexar County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bail.

His attorney, Jimmy Parks, said the case poses some interesting questions about how far ordinary citizens, such as utility technicians, can intrude on a person's private life.

"I think in this case we've got a good, strong defense, but I don't want to lay all of that out now," Parks said.

A sworn affidavit dated Feb. 13, 2004, led to a search warrant being issued by 226th District Judge Sid Harle. Sieczynski's home was searched by an investigator with the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Texas attorney general's office, who seized the laptop computer.

The affidavit recounted how a service technician for Time Warner Cable was called to a residence in the 6100 block of Walking Gait Drive to fix a computer's non-functioning cable modem.

The technician reported finding the images in "thumbnail" form during the course of his work to San Antonio police, who forwarded the information to Leon Valley police.

"I think we're going to find out if there is something wrong with that," Parks said. "There is going to be a question whether an individual who comes in to fix a glitch in your computer has the right to delve into temporary Internet files."

Parks added, "We're going to be getting into some new areas of the law in this case."

At the time of the laptop seizure, Sieczynski was serving a year of deferred adjudication — a form of probation — after he pleaded no contest Nov. 1, 2003, to an indecent exposure charge.

After that arrest, Sieczynski was placed on indefinite suspension from the public ministry and remains on that status, said Deacon Pat Rodgers, director of communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio.

After Tuesday's indictment, Bernard said, Sieczynski was arrested without incident at about 1:30 p.m. by an investigator with the district attorney's office, who was accompanied by a Leon Valley police officer.

If convicted of possessing child pornography, a third-degree felony, Sieczynski faces two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Bernard said prosecutors had filed a motion to revoke Sieczynski's probation on the exposure charge. In that case, a Class B misdemeanor, the priest faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

 
 

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