Deacon Faces R.I. Child-Porn Charges

By S. Robert Chiappinell
Providence Journal-Bulletin
October 19, 2001

After consulting a child-abuse expert from Hasbro Children's Hospital, the state police have filed new child pornography charges against a church deacon.

The police said the Hasbro doctor helped them determine that people pictured naked or engaged in sexually explicit conduct in images stored on the man's computer were under 18.

Edward Sadowski, 59, of 452 Shady Valley Rd., was arrested without incident about 4 p.m. Wednesday at his home, and charged with "child pornography prohibited," Capt. Brendan Doherty, the state police detective commander, said.

Sadowski, a church deacon at St. Vincent de Paul Church for more than a decade, was charged last July by the Massachusetts State Police with attempted statutory rape, attempted enticement of a minor to pose in a state of nudity and attempted dissemination of matter harmful to a minor.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence has suspended Sadowski as a permanent deacon, spokesman William Halpin said. Deacons, who usually work part-time and often are married, may preside at weddings and funerals, he said, but cannot say Mass or hear confession, duties reserved to priests.

Doherty said that the Massachusetts State Police contacted the Rhode Island State Police on July 25 about their investigation into Sadowski. The next day, members of Rhode Island State Police major crimes unit executed a search warrant for Sadowski's home and seized computer equipment including lap tops, hard drives, disks, scanners, a camera, videotapes and recorders.

Those items were turned over to Massachusetts for forensic review, Doherty said.

The original charges came after an undercover Massachusetts state trooper posing on the Internet as a 14-year-old girl arranged to meet Sadowski at a Watertown, Mass., motel. Sadowski allegedly sent nude photos of himself and other pornography pictures to the trooper.

Sadowski was arrested July 26 at the Super 8 Motel in Watertown where he had planned to meet the supposed teenager to photograph her nude and have sex with her, according to the Massachusetts attorney general's office. He had a digital camera with him at the time of his arrest, the office said.

In executing the search warrant, Doherty said, the Rhode Island State Police seized 93 photographic images that were pornographic in nature, and Sadowski is being charged in connection with 14 of the images.

After Massachusetts completed its review, Doherty said, it returned the material to Rhode Island. Because the "child pornography prohibited" statute deals with youths under 18 years of age and the identity and ages of the youths was unknown, Doherty said, the state police consulted with Dr. Carol Jenny of Hasbro Children's Hospital.

She is head of the hospital's child-abuse prevention unit and a nationally known expert in the field. After she reviewed the photographic images, the police determined that they had probable cause to believe that a child under 18 was pictured in 14 instances , Doherty said.

Asked if any of the youths had been identified, Doherty said that he could only say that the investigation was continuing.

"It is certainly a troublesome case," he said.

Sadowski was arraigned yesterday in Kent County Family Court before Judge Raymond E. Shawcross, who set bail at $10,000 with surety. Sadowski is to be arraigned in Superior Court on Nov. 14, Doherty said.

To his knowledge there had been no further developments in the court process on the Massachusetts charges, Doherty said. The Journal was unable to reach a trooper in the prosecution office of the Massachusetts attorney general's office for further information.


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