'Appalled' Judge Gives Priest 7 Years for Child Porn
Abused As Child, He Downloaded Horrific Images
By Steve Warmbir
November 1, 2006
When he was a child, the Rev. Daniel Schulte experienced horrific abuse.
As an adult, he kept images of horrific child abuse on his computer, including a 34-minute video of a man raping a young girl who was tied up.
For that, Schulte was sentenced to 7 years and 3 months in prison, the maximum under advisory federal sentencing guidelines for possessing child pornography.
There is no evidence that Schulte, 54, a Vincentian priest who worked at St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates in 2005 as hospital chaplain, abused any children.
'Sorry for my sin'
But U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning said Schulte perpetuated a cycle of violence by creating a demand for child pornography by having hundreds of such images on his computer.
"The court cannot help but be appalled by this offense," Manning said.
Schulte, who now lives in St. Louis with other priests in his order, was caught while living in the DePaul University neighborhood and using a university server to access the Internet. School officials noticed he could be viewing child porn on his computer and notified his superiors.
"Your honor, I just want to say I'm very sorry for my sin and my crime," Schulte told the judge.
But he said he realized that the apology would do nothing for "the children whose innocence I've stolen by downloading images of child pornography."
Schulte's attorney, Patrick Cotter, said the priest is doing everything he can not to commit the same crime again -- "short of suicide." Schulte has been in therapy several hours a day, seven days a week.
Stripped of priestly duties
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, praised the prison sentence.
"It's definitely progress. Time and time and time again, we see sex-offender clergy seeking and getting light sentences and preferential treatment. That didn't seem to happen here."
An official with Schulte's order said leaders would consult with church law experts to see if they had to remove Schulte from the priesthood.
They would prefer to keep him in the order and supervise him when he's released from prison, the official said.
Schulte has already been stripped of his ability to perform priestly duties.
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