Priest and Child Porn

By Mark V. Serrano
Loudon Times-Mirror [Virginia]
November 1, 2005

There are many things that should concern parents and citizens about the child pornography case against the Rev. Father Robert Brooks, former pastor of Saint John the Apostle Catholic Church in Leesburg who will be sentenced Dec. 12 after pleading no contest to a child pornography charge.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials caught Father Brooks as "part of ICE's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to safeguard children against Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, child sex tourists, and human traffickers."

Child pornography is an inherently heinous crime. Those photographed boys and girls have, by definition, all been sexually exploited and abused even before the camera shutter goes off. Many are enslaved, drugged and forced into prostitution.

It is incumbent on Bishop Paul Loverde of the Arlington Diocese to take action to safeguard children immediately in the wake of Father Brooks' prosecution.

First, he should compel Father Brooks to disclose the full extent of his crimes so that the ICE can be aided in its investigation.

Second, Father Brooks, according to the Catholic Church's standards and guidelines, should be removed from the priesthood as a demonstration that no one who would participate in trafficking child porn should be a Catholic priest, even on a limited basis. Bishop Loverde can start this process with the Vatican now.

Third, Bishop Loverde should visit St. John's, along with clergy abuse survivors, to reach out to those who may have been abused or otherwise harmed by Father Brooks' actions.

Just as importantly, upon the sentencing of Father Brooks, Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Horne should require Father Brooks to register as a sex offender in the commonwealth of Virginia so that other communities can be aware of his crimes and guard against his involvement at churches, schools or anywhere in the presence of children.


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