Priest serving in Boston put on leave after arrest on child porn charge
By Catholic News Service
(CNS photo/Suffolk county District Attorney's Office, handout via Reuters)
BOSTON (CNS) -- The Boston Archdiocese placed a Franciscan priest on administrative leave from his pastoral duties following his arrest on child pornography charges that involved the use of a computer located in the parish rectory.
Father Andrzej Urbaniak, a Conventual Franciscan who serves at Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, was arrested July 31 and charged with possessing and distributing child pornography. At his arraignment the next day, he pleaded not guilty.
"The provincial superior of his religious order in Poland has been informed of the matter. Father Urbaniak's faculties have been suspended and he is not allowed to function as a priest in the archdiocese," said a statement released Aug. 1 by Boston church officials.
The archdiocese said it is "fully cooperating with law enforcement."
"The church prays for all those impacted by these events and is committed to providing for the pastoral care of the parish during this difficult time," the statement added.
According to The Boston Globe daily newspaper, Boston police had been investigating Father Urbaniak for two months. It quoted the prosecutor in the case as saying at Father Urbaniak's arraignment the priest "was downloading and sending sexual images of children" when police entered his rectory to arrest him on pornography charges. Most of the children in the photos were between ages 8 and 10, the paper said.
Father Urbaniak, 41, came to the U.S. from his native Poland about 14 years ago and for the past four years has been at Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish, which serves Polish Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese.