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St. Louis Priest Father William Vatterott Indicted on Child Pornography Charge

Categories: Crime

william vatterott mug.jpg
William Vatterott, 36.
William Vatterott, a Roman Catholic priest from St. Louis, was indicted yesterday on a federal child-pornography charge -- and could ultimately face ten years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Vatterott, 36, will appear in federal court later this week or early next week to respond to the indictment, the U.S. attorney's office says in a statement.

He was placed on administrative leave in 2011 after a complaint was filed with the Ballwin police. He had allegedly been involved in an underage-drinking incident -- and was accused of "inappropriate conduct."

The indictment says that he possessed "at least two images of an unidentified nude boy on his computer" between June 2010 and June 2011.

In a July 2011 statement, Monsignor Richard Hanneke said that the Archdiocese of St. Louis had recently learned complaints of "inappropriate conduct" involving Vatterott:

More specifically, two teenagers reported incidents of inappropriate electronic communications received from Fr. Vatterott. Additionally, one teenager, who was 18 years old at the time, reported an incident involving underage drinking and other inappropriate behaviors. None of the reported complaints involved physical contact or solicitation of any sort. We are aware that these reports have been presented to law enforcement for investigation. As a result of these complaints, Fr. Vatterott has been placed on administrative leave while this matter is being investigated.

Vaterott, that statement said, had served as a pastor of St. Cecilia Parish since January of 2008 and prior to that was an associate pastor at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin.

william vatterott kdsk.jpg
via KSDK

In the announcement of the indictment yesterday, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan stated the St. Louis Archdiocese has cooperated with the investigation. But David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), questions just how forthcoming the archdiocese has been. He suggests church leaders knew about the child pornography back in 2011 but chose instead to sugarcoat it.

"We hope that someday Catholic officials will stop using euphemisms like 'inappropriate conduct' and 'boundary violations' and start being more honest," said Clohessy in a statement today. "It's hard to believe they are trying to reforming when they deliberately use vague minimizing words for these heinous crimes."

Yesterday the archdiocese released this short new statement, saying:

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has learned that Fr. William Vatterott, who had been the Pastor at St. Cecilia Parish in St. Louis and previously an Associate Pastor at Holy Infant in Ballwin, has been charged with possession of child pornography.

Fr. Vatterott has been on administrative leave from St. Cecilia Parish since June of 2011, when the archdiocese was made aware of these allegations. Since that time, the archdiocese has fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's office.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis encourages all persons with reports of misconduct with a minor involving a member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Deacon Phil Hengen, Director of Child and Youth Protection, at 314.792.7704 or the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800.392.3737 or law enforcement officials.

Continue on to view the full indictment from U.S. Attorney's Office.



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35 comments
Sal Pupillo
Sal Pupillo

The whole institution is guilty of crimes against humanity. Remember this the next time you see the new pope being heralded as a hero in the media.

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

@Jacob - You're wrong, how many pedophiles were married? Basic crap here folks! Tiff was right, common sense isn't so common anymore. Let's call it 'good sense'. Get some.

Jason Brock
Jason Brock

@Erica - Because he's not into "women", get a clue.

Andrea O'Brien
Andrea O'Brien

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0405/p01s01-ussc.html I am not defending the Catholic church. I left that faith more than three decades ago. However, while we only focus on priests we miss a whole lot of other clergy, youth ministers etc in other Faiths. While we focus solely in the Catholic Church are we closing our eyes, ears, and minds that it happens in all Faiths?

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

catholics. CATHOLICS! look, you're going to have to get a handle on this problem. it's hard to point the finger at islam when a "white" religion has this problem.

Greg Heisler
Greg Heisler

Do as I do not as I say right Father?! Catholics are so out of touch with reality it's just sad. Hence, why I left that faith 10 years ago and will never go back. Priests should be allowed to have a family as it's unnatural for men to not have sex. You wonder why they go crazy but I don't...

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I think it is more in depth than just being denied sex. I have listened to many child molesters being interviewed....(as painful as it is to listen to) ...because unless we understand it we will never prevent it. Most talk as if they hate themselves for having that impulse. (I am totally not defending them, I think that their actions make them scum.) But, they seem to be able to control it for only a short while before they go right back to it again. That is why most say that child molesters are not able to be rehabilitated.

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

"None of the reported complaints" key word being reported here.

Timothy Yeaglin
Timothy Yeaglin

I believe the charge is possession. It is not "creating" or trafficking or actually touching anyone or anyone's parts. Is it wrong? Yes. It is the same as "playing with children's parts" or molesting children? No.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I would like to know the psychology behind child molesters becoming priests? Are they unable to avoid the impulses and think that priesthood will help them control it? Really...Where does this crossover between the two meet in a mental health aspect?

Jake Black
Jake Black

I bet if you let priest have a wife this would never happen

Arlene Pianka
Arlene Pianka

It's about time these evil priest are being brought in to the court system instead of hid away in the church. We'll never really know how many innocent lives he has corrupted and destroyed. Damn that makes me sick!!!!!!!!!

Chris Kline
Chris Kline

My good people. I apologize sincerely for the horrific things these so called men of God have done to your children and I assure you that God has a very very special place for these men.

Eric Mitchem
Eric Mitchem

Just sick of seeing stories like this...molest a kid and we cut off the body part you did it with.That will slow this shit down.

David Lunatto
David Lunatto

Such a sad state of affairs when stories like this aren't shocking in the least.

Omar O'Hara
Omar O'Hara

The better question is what drives a person to seek this life in the first place? How can it be surprising?

Chris Miller
Chris Miller

"Forgive me, father, for I have sinned ... just not on the same scale as you."

Jason Patrylo
Jason Patrylo

not defending this guy at ALL, but... if you read it, he didn't play with children's parts, there was underage drinking, electronic conversation and 2 nude photos found on his computer, which is still sick, but "None of the reported complaints involved physical contact or solicitation of any sort."

Erica Chicoineau
Erica Chicoineau

Because their religion prevents them from satisfying basic human desire so they go to extremes to get it. I don't get why they don't just sleep with women if they're so desperate for intimacy!

Nick Scydick
Nick Scydick

I don't understand why it's so common for priests to play with children's parts?

snapjudy
snapjudy

Viewing, possessing, distributing, and/or creating child porn is a serious crime, and for good reason. The children in the photos are being sexually used and abused. This causes lifelong pain and suffering for innocent children. Hopefully anyone, who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Fr William Vatterott, will have the courage to speak up and report it to police. When victims and whistleblowers stay silent, nothing changes. But when they find the courage to take action, there's at least a chance for prevention, healing and justice.

Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
"SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

kjlstl
kjlstl

Judy, interesting comment. I believe your organization has good intentions, but maybe less time is needed reading and posting on blogs and more time for assisting the victims. The individual that had the courage to bring this matter to justice. had turned to SNAP two years ago

kjlstl
kjlstl

on two occasions and could not even get a call back from your organization. And of course when the story broke two years ago I recall SNAP posting just as you have done here. Awareness is good, but helping to direct the victims to the correct authorities would be even better.

ilikestlouis
ilikestlouis

@kjlstl hey kurt, why don't you spend less time commenting on all the stories about this? do you have nothing better to do? or are you just too busy turning a blind eye to your own children and stepchildren underage drinking and partying?

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