ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Authorities say a former pastor at a Roman Catholic Church in Emmaus, Pennsylvania has been charged with numerous crimes related to the possession of child pornography.
Officials say it is alleged that during the week of July 25, 2016, Msgr. John Stephen Mraz, 66, asked a friend and parishioner to perform maintenance updates to his laptop.READ MORE: Decomposed Body Of Dog Found In Trash Bag On Train Tracks In Kensington, Philadelphia Police Say
In doing so, officials say the parishioner, identified as “D.M.,” discovered files in the computer’s recycling bin depicting images of nude males.
Authorities say D.M. returned the laptop to the monsignor, who then asked him to upgrade another laptop.
Officials say D.M. discovered a file with a name suggesting it contained obscene images of underage males.
Authorities say the images made D.M. uncomfortable, and he informed the Diocese of Allentown about what he found.
The Diocese promptly relayed the information to the Lehigh County District Attorney.
As part of the investigation, a search warrant was executed at Mraz’s residence in Emmaus. Devices were seized and submitted for digital forensic analysis.READ MORE: Heated Debate Over Who & What Should Be Allowed On Delaware River Splashes Into Public View
Authorities allege the user of the devices actively searched the internet for images and videos of underage males engaged in sex acts. It is also alleged that numerous files of child porn were found on the devices.
Officials say the investigation determined that Mraz allegedly was the user who searched for and downloaded the files of child pornography and they say he did so for his own sexual gratification.
The Lehigh County District Attorney says Mraz, formerly the pastor at St. Ann’s Church, is charged with sexual abuse of children and criminal use of communication facility.
Authorities say both are felonies.
Additionally, he is charged with obscene and other sexual materials and performances, a misdemeanor.
The Diocese of Allentown released the following statement in part: ‘Monsignor Mraz was ordained in 1975. He was a professor at the former Reading Central Catholic High School, Allentown Central Catholic High School and Vice Principal and Director of Spiritual Activities at Marian High School in Tamaqua. He was chaplain at the Newman Center at Lehigh University and Assistant Superintendant in the Diocesian Office of Education. He was pastor of the former St. Bertha Parish in Tuscarora, at Assumption B.V.M, Northhampton and since 2008 at St. Ann Parish in Emmaus.MORE NEWS: 35-Year-Old Man Charged In March 2021 Murder Of 19-Year-Old Bridgeton Mother, Police Say
Monsignor Mraz has been removed from public ministry and cannot present himself as the priest. Because the matter is now in the judicial system, the Diocese will withhold until further comment.’