St. Louis priest charged with possession of child pornography

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Father William Vatterott

Father William F. Vatterott was indicted April 24 with possession of child pornography.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment April 24, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Missouri. Father Vatterott, 36, was charged with possession of child pornography between June 2010 and June 2011. He is expected to appear in federal court in the next week.  

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan noted that the St. Louis Archdiocese cooperated with the investigation.

If convicted, the charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. 

Father Vatterott, who in 2007 was named associate pastor and later became pastor of St. Cecilia Parish in south St. Louis, and previously was associate pastor at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, has been on administrative leave since June 2011, when the archdiocese was made aware of the allegations.A statement from the archdiocese noted that it has fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

On June 27, 2011, the archdiocese learned of complaints of inappropriate conduct involving Father Vatterott. Specifically, two teenagers reported incidents of inappropriate electronic communications received from Father 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.

The archdiocese encourages all persons with reports of misconduct with a minor involving a member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Phil Hengen, the Director of Child and Youth Protection at (314)792-7704 or the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at (800) 392-3738 or law enforcement officials.

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