Priest Admits Ordering Child Pornography at Seminary

The Associated Press, carried in Centre Daily [Pennsylvania]
August 25, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - A Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single charge for ordering child pornography from the Internet while working at a Philadelphia seminary.

The Rev. Matthew Kornacki, who has served in nine parishes in the city and its suburbs, faces several years in prison.

Kornacki, 57, was removed from active ministry in July 2003, when Secret Service agents interviewed him as part of a New York-based child pornography probe. Agents tracked an address on his order to the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, which is run by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Agents found 150 images of child pornography on Kornacki's personal laptop computer when they seized it, prosecutors said.

Kornacki was an assistant director for priest formation and a spiritual director at the seminary.

"This is very unfortunate. This is a very nice man," defense lawyer Francis Recchuiti said before the sentencing. "He has never been involved in any of this other stuff. He wasn't trafficking. He ordered it once, destroyed it and didn't realize it was still on his computer hard drive."

Kornacki faces up to 10 years in prison on the child pornography count, but under federal guidelines will likely get a 30- to 37-month term. U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick set sentencing for Nov. 17.

Kornacki, who expressed remorse in court Wednesday, is living at St. John Vianney Center, a church-run treatment facility in Downingtown.