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  Priest Admits Porn Charge
Volino Lists More Than 3 Images; Prosecutors Say It Was 600-Plus

By Gary Craig
Democrat & Chronicle [Rochester NY]
May 26, 2005

A Catholic priest whom the Diocese of Rochester once restricted from contact with children pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Michael Volino, 41, admitted that last year he had child pornography on a diocesan computer. In his guilty plea to a single felony count, Volino admitted only to possessing more than three pornographic images, but federal prosecutors contend that he had more than 600.

The difference could be crucial to Volino's sentence, because sentences can be increased if there are more than 600 images.

In 2002, diocese officials asked Volino to attend a Maryland-based psychiatric center for priests because of concerns about his "maturity and development," Bishop Matthew Clark said in an earlier interview. Counselors recommended that the diocese ensure that Volino was not alone with children, a restriction the diocese maintained it followed. (Clark said the diocese did err by allowing Volino to teach at St. John the Evangelist Church in Greece; the center recommended that he be prohibited from work in schools.)

Neither the diocese nor federal authorities say they've received any allegations of abuse by Volino against children. Volino, who will remain confined to a local home awaiting sentencing, will stay on administrative leave, the diocese said Wednesday.

The diocese, which found the child pornography and reported the discovery to authorities, said it will conduct an internal review of its handling of Volino.

By admitting to possession of child pornography in October 2004, Volino could receive a break because Congress ratcheted up the sentences for child pornography crimes committed after that month.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Resnick said that the federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory, recommend a sentence of up to nearly five years. But Volino's lawyer, John Parrinello, maintained that the guidelines instead recommend a sentence of less than two years, and that U.S. District Judge David Larimer could even grant probation.

"(Volino) has fully resolved that nothing like this will ever happen again in his lifetime," Parrinello said after court.

The Rev. Michael Volino is to be sentenced in federal court Sept. 8.

 
 

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