Former Charleroi priest pleads guilty to possessing child pornography
A former pastor in Charleroi admitted in federal court on Thursday that he viewed child pornography and traveled to Thailand to meet teen boys.
David Dzermejko, 65, of Braddock pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh released a statement saying it had no knowledge of the criminal activity and noted that Bishop David Zubik told priests and deacons in January that “viewing child pornography is a criminal act for which society will hear no excuse, accept no extenuating circumstances or grant any mercy.”
U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer scheduled Dzermejko's sentencing for March 20.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn Bloch said Microsoft Corp. notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a SkyDrive user by the name of Lord Winchester Cuthbert Thurston VII uploaded a nude image of a prepubescent child on Dec. 21.
Police tracked the account to Dzermejko and searched his diocesan residence on Jan. 11. Dzermejko initially denied having downloaded child pornography but during the search admitted he has watched it for more than 10 years and visited Thailand, Bloch said.
“He would meet with teen boys, some of whom he continued to have an online relationship with,” she said.
Dzermejko had images of boys on two computers, an external hard drive and an iPhone, she said. None of the images was violent.
“I plead guilty,” Dzermejko told the judge.
He remains free on $50,000 unsecured bond.
Diocesan spokesman Rev. Ronald Lengwin said Dzermejko remains on administrative leave.
“This case will probably be submitted to the Vatican, and there will be a determination made eventually, as the civil process ends, as to whether he will be placed in a program of prayer and penance, which still means he is not a priest in good standing, or he will be withdrawn from the priestly ministry,” Lengwin said.
Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Range Resources to pay $4.15M fine, close old gas drilling impoundments
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp
- PennDOT worker injured in Beaver County
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Judge drops charges against Ambridge ROTC instructor’s wife
- Charges filed against man shot by police in Bell Township
- Pittsburgh motorists get fewer parking tickets, pay more at meters
- Starkey: Two amazing Pirates fans
- Video posted online captures Wilkinsburg child’s injuries
- Number of jobs in high-tech industry outpace workers in Pittsburgh, nation
- Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife