New details in arrest of ex-priest on child porn charge

July 8, 2010 3:54:23 PM PDT
We have new information about a former priest who's accused of having child pornography on his church computer. Stephen Burke used to be a priest at the St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church in Spring.

We are told that Burke has been released from jail on $20,000 bond. Investigators say he is not being a cooperative witness.

On Wednesday evening, Burke was taken into custody at his home in Spring in handcuffs in the back of a patrol car. A few hours later, he was booked into the Harris County Jail and charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

It stunned his neighbors because of who Stephen Burke had been.

"Because he's a priest and he seemed like a mild-mannered person, and just the image he portrayed was totally nothing I would've expected," said Felicia Rogers.

Burke had been a priest at St. Anthony the Great Antiochian Orthodox Church for a year and a half until January, when investigators say his office computer needed repairs.

"They had an IT technician look at the computer and when he looked at the computer trying to find the file that should make it print, he found images that looked child pornographic to him," said Sgt. Gary Spurger of the Haris County Precinct 4 Internet Crimes Task Force.

The church called authorities and dismissed Burke. The forensic exam into his computer started.

Investigators say the images numbered fewer than 100, but more than 10, of prepubescent girls allegedly in various stages of undress. He's accused of downloading the images onto the church computer.

"And then him not providing us with any information and nothing to corroborate that says he didn't loan it to somebody else, we can only go on what we have, and what we have points to him being the one viewing the images of child pornography," said Sgt. Spurger.

We're told Burke was assigned to the church in July 2008 by the archdiocese that's based in New Jersey.

Burke will make his first court appearance tomorrow.


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