Priest Who Worked in Houston Faces Child Porn Charges
Sexual Images Found on Hard Drive of Computer, Prosecutors Say
March 22, 2006
Chicago - A Roman Catholic priest who once worked at the University of St. Thomas in Houston was charged by federal prosecutors Tuesday with possession of child pornography.
The Rev. Daniel Schulte, 53, was accused in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court with having an unspecified number of sexual images of children on the hard drive of his computer.
Prosecutors said there were no allegations that the Vincentian priest had engaged in sexual activity with children. They said he would be arraigned at an unspecified later time.
The Rev. Raymond Van Dorpe, assistant provincial of Schulte's Vincentian order, issued a statement saying that "child pornography in whatever form it takes is intrinsically evil."
Van Dorpe said in a telephone interview that the Internet service provider for Schulte's computer had contacted the order with the suspicion that child pornography had been accessed. That occurred in March 2005 while Schulte was a chaplain at St. Alexius Medical Center in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates.
"We confronted (him) with the suspicion and asked him to turn over his computer, and he did," Van Dorpe said. He said an attorney for the order then contacted the FBI.
The provincial superior "immediately removed Father Schulte from active ministry and placed him on precautionary administrative leave," Van Dorpe's statement said. Schulte was moved to St. Louis "where he could be supervised and where his access to the Internet could be supervised."
The statement said that in the intervening months, "the province has fully cooperated with all law enforcement agencies and will continue to do so."
Schulte worked as a degree auditor, an administrative assignment, from August 1997 to June 1999 at St. Thomas, according to university records. As far as university officials could determine, Schulte was reassigned in 1999 by his order and left Houston, university spokeswoman Sandy Soliz said Tuesday. "That priest was never assigned to any of our parishes," said Annette Gonzales Taylor of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.
Mike Robinson of the Associated Press and Chronicle religion editor Richard Vara contributed.
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