Priest Charged after Child Porn Found on Laptop
Archdiocese Removes Rev. Timothy Szott from Parish in Case
By Marisa Schultz
June 6, 2003
Utica — Prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for the Rev. Timothy Szott, former pastor at one of Metro Detroit's largest Catholic churches, alleging he possessed hundreds of pornographic images of children on his personal laptop computer.
Since February, police have been searching for images on Szott's personal computer and at least one owned by St. Lawrence School and church, where he was pastor. A church volunteer tipped off authorities to child porn on the church server, which prompted Szott's removal as pastor.
He is the 17th priest in the Archdiocese of Detroit to be removed from a parish since March 2002 amid investigations into sex-related crimes.
William Harding, chief of operations at the Macomb Prosector's Office, said Thursday police showed him hundreds of pornographic images on Szott's computer. But those pictures are just a "mere sampling" of the material, he said. The earliest image found was downloaded in 2001, Harding said.
"The images range from erotic nudity, to fondling to various sexual acts," he said.
Szott, 56, is charged with possession of child sexually abusive activity, a one-year misdemeanor. Had the police investigation began after March 31 when the state law changed, he would have faced a four-year felony, Harding said.
Szott paid money over the Internet to download the images, Harding said.
Authorities do not believe any children of St. Lawrence Church or school were depicted in the pictures, Harding said.
Since his removal in February, Szott has undergone treatment at a facility in Maryland, said Ned McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Szott is being treated at St. Luke Institute in Silver Springs, Md., McGrath said. St. Luke treats priests and nuns for a variety of mental health problems, including alcoholism, depression and pedophilia, according to the Associated Press. Attorney Stephen Rabaut said Szott will cooperate with authorities.
"When the dust settles, (Szott) will be able to walk away with his head high," Rabaut said.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.