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  Chaplain Charged in Child Porn Case
Accused of Web Visits at Englewood Hospital

By Karen Mahabir
The Record [Bergen County NJ]
April 15, 2003

Englewood - The longtime chaplain of Englewood Hospital and Medical Center has been charged with viewing child pornography on his office computer, authorities said Monday.

John E. Komar, 65, who conducted services and counseled patients at the hospital for 10 years, was arrested as he reported for work Sunday night, said Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli. He was charged with possession of child pornography and released on his own recognizance, the prosecutor said. Detectives with the Computer Crimes Unit of the Prosecutor's Office began investigating the veteran priest after a computer technician at the hospital noticed the Web site addresses logged on the computer's history, Molinelli said. They reviewed and tracked the addresses and conducted surveillance of the chaplain's office, he said.

"We were able to pinpoint it was Komar," Molinelli said.

Hospital officials have been cooperating with the investigation, spokeswoman Barbara Ettington said Monday. She called the situation "unfortunate."

Komar, a member of the Archdiocese of Newark for 39 years, joined Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in 1990. He has served in several parishes and hospitals, including St. Philip the Apostle in Saddle Brook, St. Margaret of Cortona in Little Ferry, and Pascack Valley Hospital in Westwood, said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for the archdiocese.

Goodness said Komar had been living at the rectory of St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Ridgefield but would likely move to concentrate on defending himself against the criminal charges. He said Komar would take a voluntarily leave of absence until the investigation is completed.

"Obviously, this is something that is distressing, this news," Goodness said. "Any kind of charge like this is a shock."

Komar could not be reached Monday afternoon. A secretary at the parish said he wasn't there.

The pastor at St. Matthew, the Rev. Donald P. Sheehan, emphasized that the charges are "basically an allegation. It will be handled according to archdiocesan policy, which will be fair to all concerned."

Of Komar, Sheehan said, "His world was chaplaincy and caring for his aged mother."

Komar joined the archdiocese after graduating from Seton Hall University with a degree in classical languages and attending the Immaculate Conception Seminary of the Archdiocese in Mahwah, Goodness said.

Father Theodore Osbahr, a pastor at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Irvington who served with Komar at St. Joseph's Church in Bayonne, said he was unaware of the arrest. He referred to Komar as a "gentle man."

"I believe that's why he ended up doing hospital work," Osbahr said. "He was a very good person ... a very good priest."

 
 

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