St. Margaret Mary priest, target of child porn investigation, resigns

August 21, 2015

[with video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Archdiocese of Louisville officials on Friday addressed the resignation of and allegations against Father Stephen Pohl of St. Margaret Mary Church pastor.A member of the FBI Cyber Crimes Unit told the Archdiocese of Louisville that they have found child pornography.

Pohl is no longer pastor of the St. Margaret Mary parish.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said he learned of the investigation on Aug. 12 and placed Pohl on administrative leave.

Kurtz accepted Pohl’s resignation on Thursday.

“He, himself, offered his resignation and I accepted it,” Kurtz said.

Pohl had been with St. Margaret Mary since 2008.

The FBI shared its findings with the archdiocese on Thursday after examining Pohl’s electronic devices.

“Father Pohl had numerous, up to 200, photos of St. Margaret Mary schoolchildren on his computer that were taken on parish grounds,” archdiocese Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Brian Reynolds said.

Reynolds said they were told the children were fully clothed, but authorities described some of these pictures as inappropriate. 

It's unclear what that means.

“I really don't. They didn't describe those for me. I specifically asked whether this involved nudity and they said no,” Reynolds said.

Cyber Crimes Unit investigator Dan Jackman also told church officials Pohl had downloaded child pornography on his personal computer and other technology.

As for reaction from parishioners:  “There is anger, there is confusion, and there is hurt and there is fear,” Kurtz said.

A meeting was held Thursday night with school parents. 

Father Mark Spalding has been appointed temporary administrator and additional counselors are working with the school and parish.

Pohl is no longer living on church property.

“He cannot provide any pastoral care or present himself as a priest,” Kurtz said.

The federal investigation is said to be in its early stages and is not expected to be completed for some time.

Reynolds said the Cyber Crimes Unit got involved after a family complained to authorities about a photo taken of a child.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.