Emmaus monsignor at center of child pornography investigation

By Kyle Rogers
September 13, 2016

[with video]

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A monsignor with the Diocese of Allentown was arraigned Tuesday on charges related to child pornography.

John Mraz, 66, was charged with sexual abuse of children, criminal use of a communications facility and obscene and sexual material and performances.

Mraz was the pastor at St. Ann's Church in Emmaus, Lehigh County.

On July 25, Mraz asked a friend and parishioner to update his laptop computer. The friend subsequently discovered files in the computer's recycling bin depicting images of nude males of an unknown age, according to court documents.

After completing the update, the friend returned the computer to Mraz, who asked him to update another laptop. On that laptop, the friend reported finding a link file named "naked little boys," or "something similar to that name," according to court paperwork.

The friend returned the laptop to Mraz and then notified the Diocese of Allentown of the discovery. The diocese then contacted the Lehigh County district attorney's office, according to court documents.

On August 18, a search warrant was executed at Mraz's home in the 400 block of South Sixth Street in Emmaus, where authorities seized the laptops. Upon analysis, authorities said the devices were used to search for images and videos of boys engaged in sex acts, and numerous image files of child pornography were also found on the devices.

After Tuesday's arraignment, Mraz was released on $50,000 unsecured bail. He is not allowed any internet access and can have no contact with minors. Mraz has a preliminary hearing set for October 3.

John Waldron, Mraz’s lawyer, said his client is ill and in a wheelchair and resides in Bethlehem. Waldron plans to have Mraz visit with a forensic psychologist.

"I don’t want anyone to jump to judgement because we haven’t had any hearings, any evaluations,” said Waldron, shortly after the charges were announced.

The Diocese of Allentown released a statement that read in part, "Last month, the presence of suspicious content on Monsignor’s computer was brought to the attention of the diocese. The diocese immediately notified law enforcement officials and cooperated completely with the investigation that resulted in the charges filed today."

The statement went on to say that Mraz was removed from the public ministry and cannot present himself as a priest.

In addition to serving as St. Ann's pastor, Mraz once taught at Catholic high schools in Allentown and Reading.



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