ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A federal grand jury indicted a St. Louis priest on child pornography charges Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said.
According to court documents, Fr. William Vatterott was found to be in possession of the illicit materials between June 2010 and June 2011.
Two teens reported to the Archdiocese of St. Louis in2011 that Fr. Vatterott engaged in inappropriate electronic communications with them. One teenager, who was 18-years-old at the time, also reported underage drinking and other undisclosed inappropriate behaviors. Neither teenager reported physical contact or solicitation of any kind.
Fr. Vatterott wasplaced on administrative leave after the incidents were reported. He had served as pastor at St. Cecilia Parish since January 2008, after serving as associate pastor at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis cooperated with the investigation, prosecutors said.
The Archdiocese released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has learned that Fr. William Vatterott, who had been the Pastor at St. Cecilia Parish in St. Louis and previously an Associate Pastor at Holy Infant in Ballwin, has been charged with possession of child pornography.
Fr. Vatterott has been on administrative leave from St. Cecilia since June of 2011, when the archdiocese was made aware of these allegations. Since that time, the Archdiocese has fully cooperated with the investigation conducted by law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney's office.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis 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 800-392-3737 or law enforcement officials.
If convicted, Fr. Vatterott faces up to 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000.