Walnutport priest removed from ministry after taking ‘disturbing’ photos of wrestlers, diocese says

Morning Call

January 5, 2020

By Riley Yates

A Catholic priest in Walnutport was removed from ministry after he was seen taking “disturbing” photographs of wrestlers at a high school tournament last month, the Diocese of Allentown announced Sunday.

The Rev. Thomas A. Derzack, 70, pastor of St. Nicholas Parish, took the photos Dec. 27 without the wrestlers’ knowledge during the event at the Bethlehem Catholic High School gym, the diocese said. Using his phone, Derzack photographed the wrestlers from behind as they were waiting to compete, leading to a complaint by a concerned spectator, the diocese said.

In a prepared statement, Bishop Alfred Schlert said Derzack’s actions violated church standards for acceptable behavior. Derzack was suspended as a precaution while the diocese investigates, and he is also barred from school events and property, the statement said.

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