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Assignment Record– Msgr. John Stephen Mraz

Summary of Case: John Stephen Mraz was ordained for the Diocese of Allentown in 1975. He worked or resided in parishes in Reading, Birdsboro, Sinking Spring, Limeport, Tuscarora, Allentown, Northampton and Emmaus. He was also a teacher at Reading and Allentown Catholic High Schools, and vice principal and director of spiritual activities at Marian High School in Tamaqua. He served as chaplain at Lehigh University and was for many years assistant superintendent in the diocesan Department of Education. Additionally, he held the position of director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue. He was elevated to Monsignor in 2008.

On September 13, 2016 Mraz was arrested on charges related to the discovery of child pornography on his two laptop computers. A parishioner found the images in late July while updating the devices, and informed the diocese in early August. The diocese contacted law enforcement. Pastor of St. Ann's in Emmaus, Mraz had been away for a number of weeks due to medical issues and was living at a retirement home for priests. Parishioners were not told that their pastor was being investigated, nor was their assistant priest, who asked the congregation to pray for and visit the ailing Mraz. It wasn't until Mraz' arrest that the diocese issued a public statement. He was removed from public ministry.

Ordained: 1975


   

Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1975

Diocese of Allentown

Bishop was Joseph Mark McShea (1961-1983).

1976 St. Joseph's Reading PA

3/3 In residence

St. Joseph's had a school with 210 students.

 

1975 1976 St. Cecilia's Chapel Reading PA   This was a mission of St. Joseph's.
1975 1980 Reading Catholic High School Reading PA teacher Reading Catholic had 706-628 students.
1976 1978 St. Paul's Reading PA

3/3 In residence

St. Paul's had a school with 89 students until 1977, when it closed.
1978 1979 Immaculate Conception Birdsboro PA

2/2 In residence

 
1979 1980 St. Ignatius Loyola Sinking Spring PA

3/3 In residence

St. Ignatius Loyola had a school with 330 students.
1980 1983 St. Joseph's Limeport PA

2/2 In residence

 
    Marian High School Tamaqua PA vice-principal; director of spiritual activities  

1983

McShea was succeeded as Allentown bishop by Thomas Jerome Welsh (1983-1997).

1989 St. Bertha's Tuscarora PA 1/1  

1989

 

1994 Lehigh University Newman Center Bethlehem PA director, Catholic chaplain

 

1989

Edward Peter Cullen followed Welsh as Allentown bishop (1997-2009).

2002 Diocesan Dept. of Education Allentown PA assistant superintendent  
    Allentown Catholic High School Allentown PA teacher  
1994 2002 St. Thomas More Allentown PA 3/3 In residence St. Thomas More had a school with 566-642 students, and a religious education program with 573-481 students.
2002 2008 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Northampton PA 1/1 Assumption of the BVM had a religious education program with 105-181 students.

2005

John Oliver Barres succeeded Cullen (2009-).

2015 Diocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue Allentown PA director Mraz was elevated to Monsignor in 2008.

2008

 

August 2016 St. Ann's

Emmaus

Mraz was arrested in September 2016 due to the discovery of images and videos of child pornography, depicting underage males, found on his two laptop computers. A parishioner informed the diocese August 1st or 2nd, after he found the porn in late July while updating the computers for Mraz. There were numerous files, one entitled "naked little boys."

PA 1/2

St. Ann's had a school with 282-324 students, and a religious education program with 362-425 students.

At the time of his arrest Mraz had been absent from the parish for about a month for medical issues. Parishioners were not told of the investigation into Mraz' child porn possession. They were asked to visit Mraz and to pray for him by the the assistant priest, who was also unaware of the situation.

Mraz admitted to using his computers to search for child pornography.

Per the diocese's September 13, 2016 statement, "Monsignor Mraz has been removed from public ministry and cannot present himself as a priest."

2016   Holy Family Villa Bethlehem PA resident This is a retirement home for priests.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1976-2015).

Statement on Arrest of Diocesan Priest, Diocese of Allentown, September 13, 2016
PA Priest Charged After Child Pornography Allegedly Found On Laptop, CBS Philly, September 13, 2016
LEHIGH CO. PRIEST ARRESTED ON CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES, ABC 6, September 13, 2016
Priest charged with child porn removed from ministry, diocese says, By Sarah Cassi, Lehigh Valley Live, September 13, 2016
Emmaus priest charged with child porn free on unsecured bail, By Sarah Cassi, Lehigh Valley Live, September 13, 2016
Lehigh Valley monsignor charged with child pornography, By Tony Rhodin, Lehigh Valley Live, September 13, 2016
News conference on Valley priest charged in child porn case, By Nick Falsone, Lehigh Valley Live, September 13, 2016
DA: Pastor of St. Ann's in Emmaus downloaded child porn for 'sexual gratification', By Laurie Mason Schroeder, Matt Coughlin And Pamela Lehman, Morning Call, September 13, 2016
Pastor of St. Ann's Roman Catholic church charged in sex abuse investigation, By Laurie Mason Schroeder, Matt Coughlin And Pamela Lehman, Morning Call, September 13, 2016
St. Ann Catholic Church priest charged with child porn, By Laurie Mason Schroeder, Matt Coughlin And Pamela Lehman,
Morning Call, September 13, 2016
Friend Finds Child Porn on Lehigh Valley Catholic Priest's Laptop: DA, By Dan Stamm, NBC 10, September 13, 2016
Pennsylvania priest charged with possessing child porn, By Daniel Craig, PhillyVoice, September 13, 2016
Allentown Diocese priests and their crimes, The Morning Call, September 13, 2016
Former Berks priest, teacher charged in child porn case, WFMZ, September 13, 2016
Emmaus monsignor at center of child pornography investigation, By Kyle Rogers, WFMZ, September 13, 2016
Priest Charged with Child Porn, Once Served near Tamaqua, By Dan Ratchford, WNIP, September 13, 2016
Former Reading-area priest charged with possession of child pornography, By Liam Migdail-Smith, Reading Eagle, September 14, 2016
How far back should coverage go in clergy sex scandals? Two Penn newspapers differ, By Jim Davis, Get Religion, September 15, 2016
Grand jury investigating sex abuse in Allentown, Harrisburg dioceses, lawmaker says, By Steve Esack, Peter Hall And Matt Assad, Morning Call, September 15, 2016
Should St. Ann parishioners have been told their pastor was being investigated over child porn?, By Matt Assad, Morning Call,
September 17, 2016


Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Mraz's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on October 28, 2016.


 
 

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