Father Stephen A. Pohl changes his plea to guilty

Father Stephen A. Pohl, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, pleaded guilty Jan. 4 on a single felony count of accessing child pornography.

Under conditions of the plea agreement in the U.S. District Court, he would serve 33 months in federal prison. He would also be required to register as a sex offender and be supervised by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services.

Sentencing is set for March 29 at 1:30 p.m.

In a statement released on Jan. 4, the Archdiocese of Louisville said that “for the sake of St. Margaret Mary Parish and our local church, we welcome the news that Father Pohl is pleading guilty and accepting responsibility for his actions.”

The priest was arrested on Aug. 21, a day after he resigned as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Church, where he served for six years. He had been placed on administrative leave Aug. 12, when the Archdiocese of Louisville learned he was under investigation by the FBI. He initially pleaded not guilty.

Father Pohl is suspended and may not present himself as a priest, wear clerical clothing or serve in ministry.

Father Pohl has served in the following parishes and ministries: pastor of St. Margaret Mary and St. Thomas and St. Monica churches in Bardstown, Ky.; director of the Vocation Office for the Archdiocese of Louisville; associate pastor, St. Athanasius Church, the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown and St. Gabriel Church; chaplain or co-chaplain at Mercy Academy; and deacon at St. Helen, now Mary Queen of Peace Church.

Anyone who has information about sexual abuse or child pornography should contact the police. To report to the civil authorities, call child protection services or the local police in your county. See www.archlou.org/report for a list of these agencies in each county. You also may call the statewide child abuse hotline at 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331.

Martine Siegel, victim assistance coordinator for the archdiocese, also is ready to assist those who have concerns. Contact her at 636-1044 or email her at victimassistance@archlou.org.

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