Louisville pastor on leave amid child porn investigation

By Chris Kenning And Rob Gates
August 15, 2015

Rev. Stephen A Pohl

A Louisville priest has been placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into child pornography, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Louisville.

Father Stephen A. Pohl, pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish at 7813 Shelbyville Road, was put on leave after the Archdiocese said it learned of an investigation about “inappropriate photos of children that have been taken and collected by Father Pohl to determine if he has possessed or distributed child pornography.”

Parishioners are being notified this weekend. The Rev. J. Mark Spalding, Vicar General and pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, has been named as the temporary administrator of St. Margaret Mary Parish.

“We realize that this is a painful situation,” Archbishop of Louisville Joseph Kurtz wrote in a letter to parishioners dated Aug. 14. “As more information becomes available, we will be in touch about opportunities to address your concerns and questions.”

Pohl was ordained in 1985 and has been at the parish since 2008, said Cecelia Price, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese. Price said she wasn’t aware of any other disciplinary issues facing Pohl.

At this time, the Archdiocese said it had no other information about the investigation. Price said a cyber-crimes task force is conducting the investigation.

“I hope that the Archdiocese continues to be transparent,” said Jeff Koenig, a local chapter leader of (SNAP) the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, an advocacy and support group.

When an allegation about possible child pornography is received, The Archdiocese said the following actions are taken in conformity with its Sexual Abuse Policies.

  • The person who has been accused is placed on an administrative leave of absence.
  • The Archdiocese submits a report to civil authorities, if not already contacted, and fully cooperates with civil authorities as the investigation proceeds.
  • The Archdiocese conducts an internal investigation of the accusation.

All of these steps are underway, the Archdiocese said.


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