Feds Charge Priest with Downloading Child Porn
By Natasha Korecki
March 22, 2006
A priest who recently served as hospital chaplain at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates downloaded child pornography onto his personal computer, federal authorities said Tuesday.
Daniel Schulte, 53, formerly of Chicago, was charged with one count of possession of child pornography after the feds allegedly found an "unspecified" number of pornographic images of children on his computer. He's not accused of misconduct against children.
Schulte is a Catholic priest of the Vincentian order who was removed from his hospital chaplain position last year. His personal computer was flagged after an Internet provider noticed inappropriate material may have been downloaded, authorities said. Schulte at the time was living in a Vincentian residence in Lincoln Park.
The Rev. Raymond Van Dorpe, assistant provincial of the Midwest Province of the Congregation of the Mission, said Schulte was removed from ministry last year and sent to St. Louis, where he and his Internet activity could be monitored. Schulte's supervisors immediately called the FBI and turned over Schulte's computer, Van Dorpe said.
"This came really as a shock to us," Van Dorpe said. "There has never been any other accusation [of sexual misconduct] against him."
He said the feds called in January to say some downloaded images were criminal and that charges were on the way.
Schulte was ordained in 1987 and had worked in a parish in southern Missouri before returning to school for business training, Van Dorpe said. He most recently worked at St. Alexius.
SNAP official critical of delay
"We're trying to get him the help he needs. He has been under supervision and therapy," Van Dorpe said.
Schulte was charged in a criminal information, which typically means the suspect is cooperating with authorities. His lawyer, Patrick Cotter, would not comment.
Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the church should have publicized the incident last year.
"We're grateful that Father Daniel Schulte has been charged but disappointed again that a priest's alleged sexual misconduct is exposed by law enforcement, not by church officials," Dorris said. "Catholic officials claim they're more open about sex abuse these days, but in fact, they're just as secretive as ever."
The Congregation of the Mission released a statement Tuesday saying it takes the accusations seriously: "Child pornography, in whatever form it takes, is intrinsically evil. By it, children are abused, their innocence stolen, and their futures threatened, if not destroyed."
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