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Priest Removed In 2009 Pleads Guilty To Child Porn Charge

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: KDKA) Brenda Waters
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A local Roman Catholic priest removed from public ministry in 2009 after an allegation of past child sex abuse later deemed “credible” by his bishop has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of possessing child pornography.

For 18 years, former priest David Dzermejko was assigned to Mary, Mother of the Church in Charleroi. Ten of those years, he was the pastor.

In federal court Thursday, Dzermejko plead guilty to viewing child pornography and taking trips to Thailand to meet teen boys.

Prosecutors say Dzermejko faces a likely term of more than three years in federal prison when he is sentenced March 20. He and his attorney declined comment Thursday.

The 64-year-old priest now lives in Braddock but was pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church parish when he was removed four years ago.

Dzermejko was never criminally charged in the alleged abuse, which dated to the 1980s and involved another parish. But Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik determined the allegations were reason enough to remove Dzermejko from priestly duties.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh has released this statement following Dzermejko’s plea:
David F. Dzermejko has pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. The Diocese of Pittsburgh had no knowledge of this criminal activity.

As Bishop David Zubik wrote to all the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Pittsburgh this past January: “Viewing child pornography is a criminal act for which society will hear no excuse, accept no extenuating circumstances, or grant any mercy. It is criminal in the eyes of society; it is criminal in the eyes of the Church. In society, viewing child pornography means imprisonment; in the church, viewing child pornography means destruction of a lifetime’s vocation….Today and every day, I urge you to pray for all victims of pornography, especially for the children who are the victims of child pornography worldwide. Their pain cries to the heavens for justice.”

The Diocese of Pittsburgh will continue to cooperate completely with authorities on this matter.

Dzermejko had allegedly been viewing the pornography in an apartment he once lived in in Charleroi that was provided by the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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