KY--Victims urge tough sentence in priest porn case


For immediate release: Tuesday, March 29

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

Fr. Stephen Pohl is to be sentenced today on child pornography charges. We hope he’s given the toughest possible sentence.    


(Fr. Pohl is NOT an “ex-priest” or “former priest.” He’s been suspended. But he has NOT been defrocked. So he remains a priest and should be referred to as a priest. He’s still on the archdiocesan pay roll. Catholic officials work hard to distance themselves from predator priests. But accuracy is important.)

Fr. Pohl is at least the 65th Louisville Catholic cleric to be accused of child sex crimes. We’re disappointed that church officials have not, as best we can tell, aggressively prodded anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Pohl to call law enforcement immediately. We hope they will do so today. It’s possible that this cleric has also sexually abused kids. So church officials have a moral and civic duty to use parish bulletins, pulpit announcements and church websites to seek out others who may have been hurt and may still be suffering in silence, shame and self-blame.

It’s a simple but crucial question for Louisville Catholic officials and church members: Do you help law enforcement, or not, in a child porn investigation against a priest? We hope they find the courage to do what’s right and work hard to seek out anyone who might have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by this priest and other priests.

When Fr. Pohl was suspended from St. Margaret Mary parish for possible child pornography charges, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz issued a vague and disingenuously timed news release.

In our experience, in cases like this, Catholic officials do the bare minimum. Rarely do they use church websites, parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to repeatedly prod victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward. Rarely do they ask their flock to reach out to ex-parishioners who may have knowledge or suspicions of wrongdoing by Fr. Pohl. But those are the caring, responsible and moral steps they should take.

We urge anyone – Catholic or not – to call law enforcement if they have any information or suspicions about this accused priest or others.

 (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])


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