News in Brief from Eastern Pennsylvania

The Associated Press, carried in Times-Leader [Pottsville PA]
April 28, 2005

POTTSVILLE, Pa. - A Roman Catholic priest admitted he owned hundreds of child pornography photos, magazines, videotapes and DVDs and embezzled more than $23,000 from the church.

The Rev. Ronald J. Yarrosh, 57, formerly an assistant pastor at St. Ambrose Church in Schuylkill Haven, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of theft, receiving stolen property, criminal use of a communication facility and three counts of sexual abuse of children.

A plea agreement calls for Yarrosh to serve a three- to 23-month county prison sentence followed by 10 years' probation.

County President Judge William Baldwin deferred sentencing so Yarrosh could be evaluated to determine whether he's a sexual predator, which would require him to register with state police under Megan's Law. Baldwin said the state would have 90 days to complete the evaluation.

Yarrosh was freed on unsecured bail. He and his lawyer, Emmanuel H. Dimitriou, declined to comment.

The plea agreement calls for Yarrosh to pay $6,617 in restitution to St. Ambrose Church and $17,012 to the Catholic Mutual Group, a self-insurance fund of the Catholic Church. The Allentown Diocese relieved him of his duties on April 23, 2004, when he was charged. Matt Kerr, a spokesman for the diocese, said he knew of no plan to remove Yarrosh from the priesthood.