'Pornography' consequences differ

The Rev. Brendan Doyle remains on indefinite leave, the Jefferson City Catholic Diocese said this week, at least in part because “inappropriate images” found on his personal and Helias High School computers were determined to be “pornographic.”

But, at least for the time being, the diocese said, U.S. Attorney for Western Missouri Beth Phillips and her staff have declined prosecution in Doyle’s case.

Neither Phillips’ office nor Deacon Dan Joyce, the diocesan communications director, have explained their decisions more specifically, leaving some to wonder just what those images on Doyle’s computers showed — and why the church could continue a suspension when the civil authorities didn’t file a charge.

The diocese never has described or released the images.

Doyle’s attorney, Brian Francka, said Thursday morning the priest had no comment.

But, Joyce said in Wednesday’s statement: “Based upon all the information it received, the diocesan review board believed that Fr. Doyle violated the (church’s) ‘Charter (for the Protection of Children and Young People)’ based on downloaded pornographic images that were found on a laptop computer he owned and a school laptop he used.”

The seven-member review board — a priest, deacon, religious sister and four lay members — then recommended that Bishop John R. Gaydos continue Doyle’s suspension and “not return (him) to public ministry at this time,” and Gaydos agreed, Joyce said.

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