Former St. Margaret Mary Pastor Pleads Guilty to Accessing, Viewing Child Porn
January 4, 2016
A little more than a week before former Pastor Stephen Pohl was set to go to trial--a change of plea.
“What Father Pohl plead guilty to today was going on the Internet and viewing images of minors exposing themselves to the camera. That's what we plead guilty to today,” Attorney Ted Shouse said.
This comes after an investigation that began in August 2015.
According to the affidavit, Pohl pulled a 10-year-old boy aside who was attending an after school program at the St. Margaret Mary's School. He asked the boy, who was fully clothed, to sit on the stairs, put his hands on his knees and spread his legs while Pohl took two pictures of him with his cell phone. The boy told his mother about the incident and said he felt “weird.”
This sparked the investigation but did not lead to the charges that Pohl plead guilty to.
“There's a lot of reasons that someone who enter a guilty plea and I think we can address that more at our sentencing hearing,” Shouse said.
Our cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom but during the hearing the 57-year-old former pastor explained that he was currently working with a psychologist to assist him with what's happening.
The charges were read emphasizing that the photos of the St. Margaret Mary's children were not pornographic. But the investigation found Pohl had used his personal computer to search for child pornography.
The plea deal was explained as 33 months in prison along with a lifetime of supervised release and as a registered sex offender. Immediately after the hearing, Pohl was taken into custody.
“We turned ourselves in voluntarily just a few minutes ago,” Shouse said.
The time that Pohl spends in jail starting on Monday will go toward whatever sentence he ultimately faces.
Pohl will be sentenced on March 29. If the judge accepts the plea deal he will face 33 months in prison. If not, Pohl does have the option to rescind his guilty plea.
We received a statement from the Archdiocese of Louisville who says they “welcome the news that he is pleading guilty and accepting responsibility for his actions.”