Catholic Priest Indicted on Child Porn Charges, Could Face up to 10 Years in Jail
By Charles Poladian
International Business Times
April 25, 2013
A Catholic priest, William Vatterott, 36, was indicted on a possession of child pornography charge in St. Louis and, if convicted, could face 10 years in prison, as well as a $250,000 fine.
Vatterott’s indictment was released by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Richard Callahan, Reuters reports. Vatterott served as a pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in St. Louis from 2008 until he was placed on administrative leave in June 2011 by the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
The archdiocese issued a statement on Wednesday regarding Vetterott’s indictment, saying, “Fr. Vatterott has been on administrative leave from St. Cecilia Parish since June of 2011, when the archdiocese was made aware of these allegations. Since that time, the archdiocese has fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by law enforcement and the U.S. attorney’s office.”
In addition to cooperating with Callahan, the archdiocese stated that all reports involving inappropriate conduct with a minor should be sent to the director of Child and Youth Protection, Deacon Phil Hengen, proper law enforcement officials or the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.
According to the indictment, Vatterott was in possession of images, obtained via the Internet, of a boy under the age of 18, Reuters reports. The archdiocese also received reports of alleged misconduct and underage drinking involving Vatterott.
Vatterott’s indictment is the latest of many underage sex-related claims against the Catholic Church in America. In August 2012, another Missouri priest, Shawn Ratigan from Kansas City, pleaded guilty to producing child pornography and Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was also charged with a misdemeanor after he failed to report the accusations against Ratigan.
Earlier in April, three priests were removed from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in conjunction with the ongoing sex abuse investigation. As part of that investigation, 21 priests were suspended by the archdiocese. Other sex abuse lawsuits have cost the Catholic Church billions of dollars in settlements.