Rev. Bartley A. Sorensen

Summary of Case: Sorensen was arrested in Dec. 2011 after a church employee found him viewing child pornography on his computer. Investigators found in Sorensen's office and rectory bedroom more than 5,000 images of prepubescent boys in sexual poses on CDs, in printed photos and in books. They also confiscated several commercially made child porn movies. He was placed on Administrative Leave by the diocese.

: 1976
Incardinated: Pittsburgh


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

Nov.1, 1976

Pittsburgh bishop was Vincent Martin Leonard (1969-1983)

June 29, 1981 St. Ferdinand Cranberry Township PA 2/2  
1981 1983 St. Colman's Turtle Creek PA 2/2 St. Colman's had a school with 292-313 students.


Leonard was succeeded by Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (1983-1987)

1985 St. James' Selwickley PA 3/3 St. James' had a school with 185-222 students.


Donald William Wuerl followed Bevilacqua as Pittsburgh bishop (1988-2006)

1990 St. Valentine's Bethel Park PA 3/3 St. Valentine's had a school with 376-426 students.
1990 1992 Blessed Sacrament Natrona Heights PA 2/3 Blessed Sacrament had a school with 256-259 students.
1992 1999 Mater Dolorosa Chicora PA 1/2, 1/1 Mater Dolorasa had a school with 246-200 students.
1999 2003 St. Victor's Bairford PA 1/1 St. Victor's had a religious education program with 454-480 students.
2003 2004        

Sorensen is not indexed in the 2004 Directory, and he is not listed in the Pittsburgh diocesan pages at his previous or next assignment.

Per a Pittsburgh diocesan spokesman, Sorensen took a year's sabbatical in 2003 "for personal reasons".


Bevilacqua was replaced by David Allen Zubik (2007-)

Feb. 2011 West Penn Allegheny Health System-West Penn Hospital Pittsburgh PA Chaplain  
2004 2011 Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph's



PA 2/2, 2/3 Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph's had a school, and a religious education program with 261-26 students.
Feb. 2011 Nov. 2011 St. Anne's Castle Shannon PA    
Nov. 2011 Dec. 10, 2011 St. John Fisher


Sorensen was arrested in Dec. 2011 and charged with possession of child pornography. A church employee happened upon Sorensen viewing child porn on his computer in a church office. The employee reported him to the Catholic Child Abuse Hotline the same day. Diocesan officials contacted police. Sorensen admitted to detectives to possessing and viewing at least 100 images of child porn. The images depicted pre-pubescent boys in sexual poses.

Several days after his arrest, police brought three new charges against Sorensen when they discovered in his office and bedroom CDs, books and printed photos containing more than 5,000 child porn images, and at least two commercially produced child porn movies.


Sorensen had been pastor of St. John's for three weeks. The employee who reported him said he would spend "hours and hours" on the computer in his office, with the door closed.

Sorensen was removed from active ministry and placed on administrative leave.


Per news reports, there was also evidence that Sorensen had traveled alone several times to Amsterdam, which is a city known for its sex trade industry.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1977-2011)

Priest Charged with Viewing Child Porn in Churchill Rectory, By Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 10, 2011
Churchill Priest Arrested on Child Pornography Charges, By Jill King Greenwood, Pittsburgh Tribune-review, December 10, 2011
Local Priest Charged with Possession of Child Pornography, WPXI, December 10, 2011
Churchill Pastor Charged with Child Pornography, WTAE, December 11, 2011
Pennsylvania Priest Arrested, Accused of Possessing Child Porn, By Ben Schmitt, The Reuters, December 11, 2011
How It's Supposed to Be Done, By Mark Silk, Spiritual Politics, December 11, 2011
New Pastor's Arrest for Child Porn Stuns Churchill Congregation, By Debra Erdley, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 12, 2011
Group Wants Answers after Local Priest Arrest, CBS Pittsburgh, December 11, 2011
Catholic Priest Charged with Child Pornography Once Served Cranberry, By Jessica Sinichak, The Patch
Bishop Zubik Discusses Latest Priest Arrest, KDKA, December 12, 2011
Usa: Paedophile Priest Arrested, Vatican Insider, December 12, 2011
Pastor at St. John Fisher Faces New Charges, By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 13, 2011
Churchill Priest Arraigned on Additional Child Porn Charges, By Michael Hasch, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2011
NSAC, SNAP Want Action from Pittsburgh Bishop, National Survivor Advocates Coalition, December 14, 2011
Pittsburgh Priest Faces More Child Porn Charges, WPXI, December 14, 2011
New Details Emerge after Priest Arrested on Child Porn Charges, By Reporting Marty Griffin, CBS Pittsburgh, December 15, 2011

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.

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 Sorensen's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation 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 Dec. 19, 2011