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[Also confiscated were pictures of children under the age of 18 in various stages of dress and undress and engaged in sexual acts or erotic poses, 48 printed pictures or photographs, 11 hardcover books, four paperback books, 15 foreign magazines, 20 nudist colony recreation magazines, four VHS tapes and eight DVDs, arrest papers said.]
Ex-area priest admits guilt in101 counts of sexual abuse of children
Thursday, April 28, 2005
By FRANK ANDRUSCAVAGE
PORT CARBON -- A Roman Catholic priest who formerly served in Easton pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft and sexual abuse of children.
Ronald J. Yarrosh, stationed in Schuylkill Haven until his arrest, appeared before Schuylkill County President Judge William E. Baldwin on charges of theft, receiving stolen property, criminal use of a communication facility and 101 counts of sexual abuse of children.
Although each of the charges carried a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine, Yarrosh will serve only between three and 23 months in prison under a plea agreement reached with the county district attorney's office. The three- to 23-month sentence is for the theft charge and includes $250 in fines and $23,629 in restitution to the parish where Yarrosh was stationed.
The charge of receiving stolen property merged with the theft charge, Baldwin said. Assistant District Attorney Karen Byrnes-Noon said the commonwealth agreed to lessen the 101 sexual abuse counts to three counts for the sake of record-keeping in the clerk of courts office.
She said three counts will include one for all the pornographic tapes recovered, the second for pornographic books and the third for pornographic photographs. Baldwin ordered Yarrosh to serve five years probation consecutive to the theft charge on the first count, and then five years concurrent probation on each of the two additional charges.
For the final charge of criminal use of a communication facility, Yarrosh will serve a consecutive five-year probation.
Baldwin held off on sentencing until Yarrosh undergoes an evaluation by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. District Attorney Frank R. Cori said the evaluation will determine if Yarrosh is a sexual predator and if so will require him to register under Megan's Law.
The evaluation, Cori said, has no effect on the priest's sentence.
As a final part of the agreement, Yarrosh must pay court costs, fines and any other fees associated with the case.
Yarrosh, who lists a home address of 151 Woodbine Road, Downingtown, was arrested last year by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Daniel T. Conville of the Schuylkill Haven station.
Yarrosh was transferred a year ago to St. Ambrose after a two-year stint at St. Bernard's in Easton. His assignment at St. Ambrose ended April 26.
Conville said troopers were investigating a possible theft from St. Ambrose Roman Catholic Church in North Manheim Township in April of 2004 when they accidentally came across a large amount of pornographic material that was collected by the priest.
According to Conville's criminal complaint, troopers went to the parish rectory and served a search warrant looking for evidence related to a theft.
As the search continued for materials relative to the theft investigation in the bedroom and library/sitting room occupied by Yarrosh, police encountered "a voluminous amount of pornography," Conville said. The material included books and magazines with pictures and photographs of nude, pre-pubescent children appearing in various stages of dress and, in some instances, performing various sexual acts and appearing in erotic poses.
Several days later, additional search warrants were obtained for a storage shed owned by Yarrosh at the U-RENT-IT self-storage facility along Route 309 just outside of Hazleton.
Inside the shed, police discovered a large amount of pornographic materials as well, Conville said. These included a hardcover book titled "Coming of Age" and another hardcover book titled "The Perfect Boy" that were seized along with a box of photo paper containing 18 computer-printed images of nude male children under the age of 18 engaging in sexual acts or erotic poses.
Also confiscated were pictures of children under the age of 18 in various stages of dress and undress and engaged in sexual acts or erotic poses, 48 printed pictures or photographs, 11 hardcover books, four paperback books, 15 foreign magazines, 20 nudist colony recreation magazines, four VHS tapes and eight DVDs, arrest papers said.
Cori said the case was disturbing to him because Yarrosh was stationed at the district attorney's parish.
"This was not so much a difficult case as it was a disturbing case," he said adding that the priest was not only a member of his faith but also a leader in his church.
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