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Identity & Community

Former Pittsburgh Priest Charged with Child Porn Possession

A federal grand jury has indicted a former Pittsburgh-area priest on a charge of possessing child pornography.

The one-count indictment against David Dzermejko of Braddock for “possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor” was unsealed Friday.

The indictment alleges that “on or about January 11, 2013, Dzermejko possessed visual depictions, namely, still images in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Bishop David Zubik responded to the indictment Monday by pledging to give his full cooperation to the investigation. 

The diocese stressed that Dzermejko “has been forbidden from celebrating the sacraments publicly, from wearing clerical attire, or presenting himself publicly as a priest” since 2009, when the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a “credible accusation” against him involving in appropriate contact with a minor more than three decades earlier. 

That information was turned over to police at the time, and in subsequent years two more accusers have stepped forward.

The FBI investigated the case that lead to the current charge, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

The U.S Attorney’s office said the charge carries a maximum total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

The indictment comes just four and a half months after the sentencing of Father Bartley Sorensen of the Pittsburgh Diocese for having child pornography on his personal computer. At the time, Zubik sent a letter to all priests and deacons in the diocese reminding them “the viewing of ANY type of pornography is wrong and immoral.”

The materials were allegedly found on Dzermejko’s computer one week after that letter was sent.

In his statement today, Zubik said, “May we all dedicate ourselves to rooting out this evil from society.”