Former priest arrested in Florida, charged with child pornography

By Anna-Lysa Gayle
August 23, 2015

[with video]

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Just hours after the Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville spelled out the allegations against the former pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish Friday, Stephen Pohl was apprehended in Florida.

Pohl was arrested Friday night in Pinellas County, Florida, and charged with possession of child pornography.

According to a WLKY affiliate in St. Petersburg, Florida, Pohl's sister maintains a home in Pinellas County.

Father Mark Spalding, appointed  the temporary administrator at St. Margaret Mary, led mass Saturday.

Laurie Roberton said Spalding tried to uplift parishioners, who have been shaken by the news.

"Our priest is not my faith, our God is my faith, and that was the message,” she said.

"We need to support one another and i feel like we need to lift each other up right now."

 It's heartbreaking news for parishioners Laura Moser and Carlton Moser, who said Pohl helped them cope with the recent death of their 30-year-old son.

"We could never have made it through this time without Father Steve," Laura Moser said.

"It's hard to believe anybody that you would know and respect would have anything to do with something like that,” Carlton Moser said.

In a statement to WLKY, a spokeswoman, said, "The archdiocese remains committed to its priorities of cooperation with the authorities as the investigative and criminal process moves forward; and pastoral care and support for all of those affected, particularly the parishioners of St. Margaret Mary."

Details about the federal investigation were discussed in a press conference on Friday.

"Father Pohl had numerous, up to 200, St. Margaret Mary school children on his computer that were taken on parish grounds," Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Brian Reynolds said.

According to the archdiocese, investigators said the photos of the children, on Pohl's laptop, showed students who were fully clothed and some which were inappropriate.

"I totally believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty and we will continue to pray for Father Steve and his family," Laura Moser said.

Pohl is now waiting for his first day in court.

The Archdiocese of Louisville is asking anyone with information related to the investigation to contact the parish office.


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