Connell Friel, the former business manager of St. Louis de Montfort Roman Catholic Church in Sound Beach is suing Reverend Charles Papa and the Diocese of Rockville Centre for $10 million, charging they slandered him and fired him for being a whistleblower.
Friel went to police and the diocese in December 2002 after he found porn on Papa's computer.
"I followed exactly the published procedures the diocese enacted," Friel told PIX News, "I found hardcore pornography and indications [that] it might have been child pornography," he said.
No criminal charges were filed against Papa as a result of the police investigation and he was sent on a 3-month sabbatical before being allowed to return to the church.
"Father Papa wrote a letter to the parish that was included in the bulletin saying that he only visited in his words 'adult female pornographic websites.'" said Friel's attorney Bruce Barket, "It seems the bishop took him at his word and Mr. Friel was fired."
At the time Papa said the reason why he was looking at pornography was because he became depressed after losing his brother in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Barket alleges Papa's explanation does not hold up.
"He's apparently a prophet as well as a priest because he was looking at websites well before his brother was killed."
Freil and Barket both maintain many sites Papa allegedly visited contained child porn. They also claim Papa conveniently got rid of the computer's hard drive, disposing of any evidence that would have proven their case."He took the single item that could prove what he was saying was true after it was demanded by the court and [instead] threw it away," said Friel.
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