Former Berks priest, teacher charged in child porn case

September 13, 2016

[with video]

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A priest who once taught at the former Central Catholic High School in Reading has been charged in a case of child pornography.

Lehigh County prosecutors announced Tuesday the arrest of Monsignor John Mraz, a priest in the Diocese of Allentown who most recently served as the pastor of St. Ann's Church in Emmaus.

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

Mraz asked a friend and parishioner in July to update his laptop computer. The friend subsequently discovered files in the 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 then asked him to update another laptop. On that laptop, the friend reported finding a 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.

Investigators searched Mraz's home in the 400 block of South Sixth Street on August 18 and seized the computers, both of which were used to search for images and videos of boys engaged in sexual acts, officials said, adding that numerous image files of child pornography were also found on the laptops.

Mraz, ordained as a priest in 1975, was freed Tuesday on $50,000 bail. He is not allowed any internet access and can have no contact with minors.

The diocese has also removed Mraz from the public ministry and has forbidden him from presenting himself as a priest.

In addition to his teaching role at Central Catholic, Mraz also taught at Allentown Central Catholic High School and served as vice principal and director of spiritual activities at Marian High School in Tamaqua, Schuylkill County. He also worked as assistant superintendent in the diocese's office of education.


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