PITTSBURGH (KDKA0 – A local priest who was arrested on child pornography charges will be heading to trial.
Rev. Bartley Sorensen waived the charges to court at a hearing Tuesday morning.
His attorney said pornography is all over the Internet and his client was merely looking at it.
Rev. Sorensen is charged with possession of child pornography and waived those charges to trial. His lawyer said while his client may have viewed the material, he is not a pedophile.
Rev. Sorensen had nothing to say while walking out of his preliminary hearing on charges that he possessed and viewed child pornography on his personal computer as well as one used at St. John Fisher Catholic Church in Churchill.
“There’s nothing to be gained in this matter by having a preliminary hearing. So, we waived into court. We’ll go to his arraignment in February,” attorney Pat Thomassey said. “It’s simply a possession crime. There’s no allegation that there was anything physical involved with anybody.”
Investigators said Sorensen possessed a lot of child pornography, including several DVD’s and printed materials containing children involved in sex acts. Thomassey said.
“It’s just simply looking at things online that any of us could look at if we wanted to,” Thomassey said.
However, just looking was enough for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to relieve Sorensen of his pastoral duties pending the outcome of his legal issues.
Sorensen’s attorney made it clear that his client doesn’t have a problem in need of help.
“Listen, the morality of it I don’t talk about. The legality of it is horrible. This stuff is out there on the Internet. Anybody can sit down and look at it, just look at it, not do anything else and the government comes in and arrests you, puts you in jail,” Thomassey said.
Sorensen remains free on $100,000 unsecured bond and will be fitted with an ankle monitor. He’s been ordered by the court to have no contact with children.