Spanish priest held on child porn charges

A PRIEST in Spain has been arrested for alleged possession of around 21,000 computer files containing child pornography.

The 52-year-old, who was not identified, was detained on Wednesday and has been released on bail by a judge, who ordered him to appear before him every two weeks, the media said, quoting prosecutors.

He was held after police allegedly found computers files containing pornographic images of children, in his parish church of Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion in the eastern town of Vilafames. The 21,000 files occupied some 600 gigabytes of space.

The diocese in which the church is based, Segorbe-Castellon, said after talking to the priest, it had decided to suspend him from his duties, the newspaper El Pais reported in its online edition.

He has been arrested “for an alleged crime of child pornography via the Internet,” the paper quoted a statement from the diocese as saying.

“If the accusation is true, this is something that hurts us deeply, that we sincerely regret and that we reject unreservedly.”

The diocese expressed its “total readiness to clarify the facts before the courts.” At the same time, it will offer the priest “the necessary means for a fair defence.”

Spain has thus far largely escaped the paedophile scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church in other parts of Europe and the United States

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