Porn Destruction Pending

By Peter Bortner
Republican and Herald [Pennsylvania]
April 11, 2007

Tuesday's scheduled hearing on whether to destroy child pornography owned by a former associate pastor of a Schuylkill Haven church has been postponed until the cleric's appeal of his state prison sentence is resolved.

Schuylkill Community Education Council

However, the Rev. Ronald J. Yarrosh, 59, of Orwigsburg, must open his wallet to keep the pornography while he appeals his sentence of four to 10 years behind bars, President Judge William E. Baldwin ruled in a one-page order made available Tuesday.

"Continued storage (of the pornography) must be at his expense since that material has not been admitted into evidence," Baldwin wrote.

Baldwin's latest decision vacated his earlier order allowing the destruction of the pornography, which Yarrosh had stored at a U-RENT-IT self-storage business in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, and a vacant house in Jim Thorpe. Yarrosh's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Christopher W. Hobbs, had objected to destruction of the material while he is appealing the sentence.

"Should the appellate court send this back to the trial court, it might possibly be used as evidence," Hobbs said of the pornography. "Therefore, it would be premature to destroy it at this time."

Baldwin said prosecutors can file another motion for the destruction of the pornography after the appeal is decided. Hobbs said he filed the appeal around early January with the state Superior Court, which is still considering it.

First Assistant District Attorney Karen Noon said Tuesday prosecutors want the pornography in both Hazle Township and Jim Thorpe destroyed.

"The motion was filed for both," she said.

Hobbs and Noon each declined to comment on Baldwin's latest order.

Yarrosh, the former associate pastor at St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church, pleaded guilty April 27, 2005, to sexual abuse of children, criminal use of a communication facility, theft and receiving stolen property.

Baldwin originally sentenced Yarrosh on Aug. 8, 2005, to three to 23 months in prison, plus an additional 10 years probation. However, on Nov. 21, 2006, he revoked Yarrosh's probation and parole, finding that he violated both by possessing pornography, drinking alcohol, traveling outside Schuylkill County without permission and being alone with a 7-year-old girl, and imposed the 4- to 10-year prison term.

At the Dec. 20 hearing during which Baldwin denied a request by Yarrosh to reduce his sentence, prosecutors hauled into the courtroom three boxes and two envelopes filled with Yarrosh's pornography.

Large amounts of pornography were found in Yarrosh's rooms at the St. Ambrose rectory and at the U-RENT-IT facility when he was arrested in 2004.



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