Judge Dismisses Porn Case against Ex-Priest
January 10, 1992
New Orleans — The state cannot prosecute a former priest who kept a library of child pornography and videotaped himself having sex with two young men because of a deal offered by a prosecutor, a judge ruled Friday.
Judge Frank Marullo said Harry Connick, the Orleans Parish district attorney, agreed in 1989 not to prosecute Dino Cinel if Cinel identified the two young men in the videotape.
Marullo ruled that and the failure to pursue the matter in 2 years made it clear that Connick had no intention of acting until public attention made him.
Arthur Lemann III, Cinel's lawyer, said Connick made the original deal to spare the Roman Catholic Church embarrassment.
Cinel, 49, was a history professor at Tulane University and lived at the rectory of a New Orleans church from 1979 to 1988.
On Dec. 28, 1988, another priest found the material in Cinel's room at the rectory while searching for an extra set of car keys. Cinel was later indicted for possession of pornographic material involving juveniles.
William Campbell, one of Cinel's lawyers, testified at a hearing on a motion to quash the indictment that the district attorney's chief police investigator told him Cinel could avoid prosecution by supplying the names of the two men in the video so the district attorney could verify they were not juveniles.
Campbell said he provided an affidavit identifying the men and documenting that they were at least 17 years old and consenting adults when the videos were made.
Zully Jimenez, a spokeswoman for Connick, said he would not comment because he plans to appeal.
Arthur Harris, Marullo's clerk, said Cinel could also be prosecuted under federal law for possessing child pornography. Cinel had about 60 commercially produced magazines when he was caught, authorities have said.
Cinel now lives in New York. He was suspended with pay from his job at City University after the investigation was made public.
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