Louisville archdiocese sued as former pastor is sentenced for viewing child porn

Louisville archdiocese sued as former pastor is sentenced for viewing child porn
Stephen Pohl (Source: LMDC)
Stephen Pohl (Source: LMDC)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On the day of Father Stephen Pohl's sentencing, a Louisville family is filing a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Louisville.

On Tuesday, Pohl was sentenced to 33 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. Pohl pleaded guilty in January 2016 to a single charge of knowingly accessing child pornography. Evidence also shows he took hundreds of non-pornographic photos of students at the school.

The lawsuit was filed by attorney William McMurray on behalf of his clients Richard and Christeena Gallahue. The Gallahue's children - a son who at the time was 7 years old, and a daughter who was 5 years old - attended St. Margaret Mary Catholic School.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said they first learned of the lawsuit today and would not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit claims in August 2014, Christeena Gallahue observed Pohl taking photos of her children while they were sitting on the steps inside the parish. Gallahue says Pohl was acting nervous and was startled when she approached him. She claims Pohl told her he was just "taking pictures", and would send her copies, which she never received.

In the lawsuit, Gallahue stated during different incident at a Boy Scout banquet at St. Margaret Mary parish, she noticed Pohl taking photos of another young boy. Gallahue said once Pohl realized she was watching him, he started acting nervous again.

Shortly after all of this, in September 2014, Gallahue stated her son began to act defiantly, not wanting to go to school. The family secured the services of a school therapist.

Once the allegations against Pohl surfaced in August of 2015, the Gallahues were deeply distraught and notified police claiming to their son was a victim of Pohl. The Gallahue's claim their son suffered serious emotional distress from the incident in 2014.

The suit claims the Church had a duty to exercise ordinary care in the hiring, supervision, and/or retention of Pohl.

The Archdiocese of Louisville released a statement on Tuesday saying, "We respect Fr. Pohl's decision to accept responsibility for his actions. We ask for prayers for Fr. Pohl, for his family, and his for the St. Margaret Mary Parish community."

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz placed Father Pohl on administrative leave as pastor from St. Margaret Mary Parish in August 2015. Father Pohl subsequently resigned as pastor.

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