Priest pleads guilty to porn charge - Catholic Courier

Priest pleads guilty to porn charge

ROCHESTER — Father Michael J. Volino pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court May 25 to one felony count of possession of computer child pornography.

The priest admitted that he possessed child pornography on his computer in October 2004. According to an FBI affidavit, an employee of the Diocese of Rochester had discovered the pornography while servicing Father Volino’s computer in January, and the diocese alerted authorities.

After Father Volino entered his plea, U.S. Judge David G. Larimer ordered him to remain under house arrest in the Rochester area pending his sentencing, slated for Sept. 8.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, the priest could receive 46 to 57 months in prison and be fined between $10,000 and $100,000, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Resnick. However, Father Volino’s lawyer, John Parrinello, noted that the federal sentencing guidelines are not mandatory, and that the priest could receive less jail time or even a sentence of probation.

Following the court proceeding, Parrinello noted that the priest had expressed regret for his actions.

“Father Volino accepts responsibility for his conduct,” the attorney said. “He has continually expressed remorse for engaging in the conduct that he did. He has fully resolved that this will never happen again.”

Father Volino, who had worn clerical attire to previous court appearances, appeared in court May 25 wearing a jacket and tie.

“We thought, with him pleading guilty, that wearing the collar would be inappropriate for this appearance,” Parrinello said.

The priest’s parents, as well as several family members and friends, were on hand to lend him support. Meanwhile, Parrinello noted that the defense is gathering letters of support for the court to consider when Father Volino is sentenced.

“He’s a good man, he’s served his church,” Parrinello said, stressing that no allegations of sexual abuse have ever been leveled against the priest.

Father Volino had been parochial vicar at Greece’s St. John the Evangelist Parish at the time the charges were filed. The Diocese of Rochester placed him on administrative leave, pending disposition of the charges against him.

According to a diocesan statement released May 25, Father Volino remains on administrative leave and is not permitted to engage in any public ministry. The diocese said a review board and Bishop Matthew H. Clark would assess Father Volino’s case in accordance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, as well as the Code of Canon Law.

“Pending the outcome of this review, the bishop will send recommendations concerning Rev. Volino’s future status to the Vatican,” the diocesan statement said.

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