A Monsignor with the Diocese of Allentown was charged in connection to child porn crimes.
John Mraz, 66, was charged with sexual abuse of children, criminal use of a communications facility and obscene and sexual material and performances.
Mraz was the pastor at St. Ann's Church in Emmaus, Lehigh County.
According to court paperwork, Mraz asked a friend and parishioner to update his laptop computer on July 25th. The friend subsequently discovered files in the computer's recycling bin depicting images of nude males of an unknown age, according to court documents.
After completing the update, the friend returned the computer to Mraz, who asked him to update another laptop. On that laptop the friend reported finding a link file named "naked little boys," or "something similar to that name," according to court paperwork.
The friend returned the laptop to Mraz and then notified the Diocese of Allentown of the discovery.
The diocese then contacted the Lehigh County District Attorney's office, according to court documents.
On August 18, a search warrant was executed at Mraz's former home in the 400 block of South Sixth Street in Emmaus, where authorities seized the laptops. Upon analysis, authorities said the devices were used to search for images and videos of boys engaged in sex acts. Numerous image files of child pornography were also found on the devices.
Lehigh County District Attorney said Mraz admitted to searching and viewing the child pornography for sexual gratification.
After Tuesday's arraignment, Mraz was released on $50,000 unsecured bail. He is not allowed any internet access and can have no contact with minors. Mraz has a preliminary hearing set for October 3.
John Waldron, Mraz’s lawyer, said his client is ill and in a wheelchair and resides in Bethlehem. Waldron plans to have Mraz visit with a forensic psychologist.
"I don’t want anyone to jump to judgment because we haven’t had any hearings any evaluations,” said Waldron, shortly after the charges were announced.
The Diocese of Allentown released a statement that read in part, "Last month, the presence of suspicious content on Monsignor’s computer was brought to the attention of the diocese. The diocese immediately notified law enforcement officials and cooperated completely with the investigation that resulted in the charges filed today.”
The statement added that Mraz was removed from the public ministry and cannot present himself as a priest. In addition to serving as St. Ann's pastor, Mraz once taught at Catholic High Schools in Allentown and Reading.