St. Margaret Mary Parents Circulate Petition, Civil Suit Possible
By Connie Leonard
January 19, 2016
It was a shocking confession when a Louisville priest and former St. Margaret Mary Pastor admitted to accessing child porn. Now, as Steven Pohl waits to be sentenced, some parents have signed a petition demanding photographs.
According to the parents attorney, the petition has more than 100 signatures. During the investigation of Pohl it was discovered that he took photos of some students fully clothed, in what was described as inappropriate stances or positions.
Parents involved with the petition want to make sure those photos are preserved so they can see them and depending on what they find, a civil suit could follow.
Even if there were no student victims at St. Margaret Mary as Federal investigators have said, there were some students who ended up in those clothed photos taken by Pohl. Those photos were not part of the child pornography case against the priest who has now pleaded guilty to accessing child porn on his computer. Some parents want to see them anyway. A parent driven petition obtained by WAVE 3 News asks the Archdiocese of Louisville, St. Margaret Mary, the U.S. Attorney's office, the FBI and other agencies to provide those the images. A return letter from the school explained to parents that Federal authorities have the images.
Parent attorney William McMurry has already spoken with the U.S. Attorneys Office and requested to maintain what he says could be evidence.
"There's good reason to believe that many of these photographs are taken in such a way and such a pose or angle that the child can't even be identified," McMurry said.
Defense attorney Greg Butrum, who is not involved in the case, said the parents are probably going to have to wait until the Pohl's sentencing in March.
"I think once the case is concluded," Butrum they'll find they can get this information."
Other parents at St. Margaret Mary are upset that the petition is being circulated and are sounding off about it on Facebook saying the school doesn't need any more negative attention. McMurry said 100 parents have signed the petition and some of those parents may decide to take civil action if necessary.
"Yes, it's a possibility," McMurry said, "these children have until their 19th birthday to bring a claim and parents on their child's behalf can bring a claim at any time."
McMurry said the U.S. Attorney's office has acknowledged the request to preserve evidence. McMurry settled a class action lawsuit for survivors of priest abuse and has sued the Vatican.
The U.S. Attorney's Officer released the following statement regarding the question raised about the photos taken by Fr. Pohl of St. Margaret Mary students: "The United States Attorney's Office will preserve the images while sorting through logistical steps to identify every affected child and notify the parents."