Priest charged with child porn removed from ministry, diocese says

By Sarah Cassi
Lehigh Valley Live
September 13, 2016

[with video]

The Diocese of Allentown announced Tuesday that a monsignor accused of possessing child pornography has been removed from public ministry.

In a statement released following the arraignment of John Mraz, the diocese said Mraz cannot present himself as a priest.

The 66-year-old Mraz, who served as pastor of St. Ann's Catholic Church in Emmaus, is accused of having "numerous" images and videos on his laptop depicting the sexual abuse of children.

Lehigh County prosecutors said the images were discovered by a church parishioner and friend of Mraz's who was updating the priest's computers in July.

The tipster informed the diocese, District Attorney Jim Martin said. The diocese immediately notified law enforcement officials and "cooperated completely" with the investigation, according to the statement.

Mraz, who is wheelchair-bound according to his attorney, is currently living at Holy Family Villa for priests in Bethlehem, and will return there on $50,000 unsecured bail, Martin said.

Because of the charges, the diocese declined to comment further about the case.

Mraz was ordained in 1975, according to the diocese.

He taught at former Reading Central Catholic High School, Allentown Central Catholic High School and was vice principal and director of spiritual activities at Marian High School in Tamaqua.

Mraz served as chaplain at the Newman Center at Lehigh University and assistant superintendent in the Diocesan Office of Education.

Before he was pastor at St. Ann's, Mraz served in the former St. Bertha Parish in Tuscarora, Pennsylvania, and at the Assumption of the Blessed-Virgin Mary in Northampton Borough, according to the diocese.



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