Computer Crime Research Center


Child-porn images found on priest's computer

Date: November 10, 2004
Source: KnoxNews

More than 5,000 pornographic images and about 150 child pornography movies were found on a church-owned laptop computer used by the Rev. Stephen Fernandes, according to court records.

Fernandes was arraigned Monday on one count of possessing child pornography.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office began investigating the 54-year-old pastor of Our Lady of Fatima parish in New Bedford Oct. 27, after a Fall River computer servicing company reported discovering child pornography on his laptop.

Two days later, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River, which supervises Our Lady of Fatima, removed Fernandes from his duties. During a conference with diocesan officials, Fernandes said, "It's all over," and requested treatment at a Baltimore hospital, according to court records.

State police arrested him Friday.

Fernandes, dressed in a dark suit and lacking the clerical collar that Catholic priests customarily wear, appeared for his arraignment Monday in New Bedford District Court with his lawyers, Hugh Curran and Thomas Burke.

The lawyers entered a plea of not-guilty for Fernandes before District Court Judge David Turcotte.

Assistant District Attorney John Letourneau said his office is satisfied with the $5,000 bail an associate posted for Fernandes shortly after his arrest. But Letourneau also requested that the court require Fernandes to surrender his passport, which Fernandes' lawyers agreed to do.

After the arraignment, Fernandes, accompanied by Curran and Burke, made a hasty exit from the courthouse. A car picked them up near the court's entrance, and they left without offering any comments.

Court records filed for the arraignment contained a report by Thomas Carroll, a child-abuse investigator with the district attorney's office, that detailed the investigation.

Carroll wrote that the employees of DEG Associates, a Fall River servicing company, first discovered the pornography on Fernandes' hard drive.

According to DEG employees, Fernandes called Oct. 26, complaining that his laptop computer was running slowly and may have had a virus. Fernandes said an office desktop computer was also running slowly.

A company technician picked up the laptop that day and inspected the desktop computer at the church rectory.

Another DEG technician began searching for a virus on the laptop the morning of Oct. 27.

The technician found a virus, and when he opened an infected file on the computer, he discovered pictures of "men and boys, all naked bodies," according to Carroll's report. DEG employees also found e-mails that were sexual in nature.

Add comment  Email to a Friend

Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2009-09-26 08:08:53 - any one can still accsess some sort of... francesca
2005-01-19 22:47:08 - Centuries old problem that has hit the... FED-UP
2005-01-19 00:56:06 - What a sick man... I went to this church,... Rob Jussaume
2004-11-13 10:07:01 - He computer was probably infected with a... Rott_En
Total 4 comments
Copyright © 2001-2013 Computer Crime Research Center
CCRC logo