Priest Investigated in Porn Case

By Angie Brunkow
Omaha World Herald
July 26, 1997

The pastor of an Omaha Catholic church is being investigated in connection with pornography involving at least one boy who attends his church.

The Rev. Daniel P. Herek, who leads St. Richard Catholic Church at 43rd and Fort Streets, has been temporarily relieved of pastoral duties while he undergoes counseling at a Maryland treatment center.

Herek, 52, has not been arrested or charged with any crimes.

Officer Steven Henthorn of the Omaha Police Department's youth services unit said police began investigating Herek in May after the Omaha Archdiocese came forward with information about possible child pornography.

A cleaning woman at the church found the material - two photographs and a video - in the rectory, said the Rev. Michael Gutgsell, chancellor for the archdiocese.

"We didn't know how such an item got into the rectory," Gutgsell said. "We don't know who put it there, how it was produced, when it was produced or anything related to that." The photographs and video were of boys, including the one who had been identified as a church member.

"When we got some facts together, our concern was that this was something we could not pursue, that it should be brought to the attention of police," Gutgsell said. "We did that promptly."

Henthorn said police were interviewing possible victims. Only two victims have been identified, he said.

Gutgsell said one boy had been identified as a member of the parish but not of the adjoining grade school. The other possible victims were not members of either the parish or school.

Parishioners were notified in the church bulletin two weeks ago that Herek, who remains the church's pastor, was seeking counseling.

"Basically, it indicated that he was under a lot of stress and pressure because of issues in his life," Gutgsell said. "In order to get some kind of handle on what those issues were, we have provided counseling for him."

Herek has been pastor of St. Richard for about five years. He has worked at churches throughout the Omaha archdiocese for the past 25 years.


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