Toledo Seminarian Accused of Having Child Pornography

By David Yonke
Toledo Blade (Ohio)
October 13, 2004

A Toledo diocese seminarian who dropped out two days before his ordination on June 12 was charged yesterday with possession of child pornography.

Deacon J. Michael Tynan, 45, of Lakeview, Ohio, withdrew his petition for the priesthood on June 10 after federal authorities informed him and diocesan officials that he was being investigated.

Mr. Tynan, who served as a pastoral intern at St. Aloysius Parish in Bowling Green during the 2001-02 academic year, had been suspended from ministry effective June 10, Bishop Leonard Blair said yesterday.

"For some months, I have carried in my heart the sorrow of knowing the reason why Deacon J. Michael Tynan was not ordained to the priesthood," Bishop Blair said in a statement.

"As tragic and painful as this situation is, it is by far better for both the church and for him that this matter came to the attention of the diocese before he could be ordained a priest," Bishop Blair said.

Though Mr. Tynan remains an ordained deacon, last week he requested that the Vatican return him to a position of layman.

The child-pornography investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio and U.S. Customs officials over a period of several months, assistant U.S. attorney Thomas Secor said last night.

The Rev. Michael Billian, episcopal vicar for the Toledo diocese, said he was told that authorities began investigating Mr. Tynan when the deacon's name

appeared on a child-porn Web site based in a foreign country.

Both Father Billian and Mr. Secor said they were unaware of any previous incidents or allegations against Mr. Tynan.

The maximum sentence for the felony count of possession of child pornography is 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and supervised release for life, Mr. Secor said. A date has not yet been set for Mr. Tynan's arraignment.

The deacon is undergoing counseling and is not in jail at the moment, Father Billian said.

A native of Bellefontaine, Ohio, Mr. Tynan earned a business degree from Miami University in 1982, then an education degree from the Lima branch of Ohio State University.

He told The Blade in an interview in June that he worked as a substitute teacher before getting a job at Holy Angels Parish in Sandusky. He later served as catechetical leader at Ss. Peter and Paul in Sandusky before deciding to enter the seminary.

He attended Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., and as part of his seminary training served as pastoral intern at St. Aloysius in Bowling Green.

Mr. Tynan is the second Toledo diocesan official to be charged with possession of child pornography. The Rev. Stephen G. Rogers, who has since been barred from the ministry, was charged in September, 2003, and is now serving a 21-month prison term.

The charge against Mr. Tynan was filed as an information, a legal procedure that avoids a grand jury investigation.


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