Pennsylvania Priest Admits to Possessing Child Pornography

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By Bianca Coombs , Christian Post Contributor
December 12, 2011|11:05 am

The Rev. Bartley Sorensen, 62, a Roman Catholic Priest, has been arrested and charged with viewing pornographic images of children on his computer.

The Post-Gazette reports that police were contacted by Diocesan officials when a church employee claimed to have walked into the rectory on Friday, catching the Reverend in the act.

The employee claimed to have seen Rev. Sorensen viewing an image of a young male on his computer, naked from the waist down, while the words "Hottie Boys" were spread on the screen.

Detective Lynn Havelka of the Allegheny County District Attorney's office obtained a search warrant and served it along with Allegheny County Detective Tim Haney.

They managed to locate pornographic images of young males on the priest’s computer.

During an interview with the officials, Sorensen admitted to possessing at least 100 pornographic images of children. Several files on the computer depict prepubescent males naked or participating in sexual activity with other boys or adult men.

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He has not been charged with the sexual abuse of any children.

Sorensen was arraigned Saturday afternoon on a third-degree felony in Pittsburgh Municipal Court. The Judge, Tara Smith, required Sorensen undergo evaluation by the Allegheny County Behavioral Clinic and prohibited any use of electronic equipment.

Sorensen, a priest for 35 years, presided over St. John Fisher Church in Churchill, Pennsylvania for only a few weeks. Since Sunday, he has been held in Allegheny County Jail with a $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has released a statement stating that Sorensen had been placed on administrative leave.

"The viewing of pornographic images involving children is a disturbing and criminal act," said the statement. "The Diocese of Pittsburgh is cooperating to the fullest extent in the investigation of this incident."

"There were no previous allegations against him," Father Lengwin, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said.

He said the diocese provided Sorensen with a list of attorneys after his arrest but it is unclear who he had retained.

 

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