Child Porn Images Found at Tobyhanna Rectory

By Chris Birk
Scranton Times Tribune
February 12, 2005

TOBYHANNA -- At least two computers from the St. Ann's church rectory contain images of child pornography, according to Pocono Mountain Regional Police, who continue to search for illicit images.

A visiting priest has admitted to police that he downloaded and viewed pornographic images, according to an affidavit of probable cause. But detectives are still trying to determine "what's on a computer, and is that illegal, and if it is, who's looking at it," Detective Sgt. Jeff Bowman said earlier this week.

"The investigation is far from complete," he said.

On Jan. 17, after tips funneled into police headquarters, two detectives began digging into child porn allegations at the rectory. The parish priest, the Rev. Michael Kloton, had already contacted authorities about the allegations, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

A man brought in to clean up the hard drives of the rectory computers discovered images of young men engaged in sexual acts on a computer used by the church secretary, the priest told detectives. Father Kloton agreed to a voluntary search, and detectives removed the computer a day later.

The state police Computer Crime Task Force discovered about 10 images of children under 18 engaged in sexual acts or in simulated sex acts. Police then received permission to confiscate all of the rectory computers, which are linked on a common server, along with Father Kloton's personal laptop computer.

On Jan. 20, a full forensic examination found one computer with images of child pornography. After returning the others to the rectory, detectives were given another computer to search -- this one used by a visiting priest.

Eleven days later, the visiting priest, the Rev. Gabriel Tetherow, traveled to Pocono Mountain police headquarters and admitted to downloading and viewing images of child pornography on the secretary's computer, "and that he also used the computer from upstairs located in his room" at the rectory, according to the affidavit.

He told police there "could be" images of child pornography on the computer that had been in his room.

Detectives obtained a search warrant Feb. 2 to check that computer's hard drive for illegal images.

So far, no arrests have been made.

Acting Diocese of Scranton spokesman Bill Genello said the diocese is fully cooperating with Pocono Mountain detectives.

Contacted at St. Ann's rectory, Father Kloton referred all questions to the diocese.

"I'm not at liberty to say anything at this point," he said.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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