A St. John’s priest was arrested and arraigned Friday on charges of allegedly emailing two obscene videos of himself to what he thought was a 13-year-old boy, said authorities.
According to news outlets, Rev. Charles Plock, 63, a University youth minister and chaplain, was released on $150,000 bail after being arrested in his on-campus apartment in the Rev. John B. Murray, C.M. Priest Residence early Friday morning. The priest is being charged with allegedly recording himself masturbating and sending the videos to a teenager. However, the youth turned out to be a police detective from a Colorado sheriff’s office engaging in an online sting operation.
Initial reports say NYPD investigators received a search warrant for Plock’s apartment after authorities traced the email to the St. John’s Queens campus. Law officials seized the priest’s computer and the footage, which they said was shot in his bathroom and that his face was clearly visible.
Plock’s defense for the videos was he only sent them to consenting adults, reports the article.
Plock was released under the condition he check himself into St. John’s Vianney Center, a Pennsylvania-based residential psychiatric facility for the clergy.
Plock’s next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 11.
In a St. John’s official statement released earlier today acknowledging Plock’s arrest, the school said they are “cooperating fully with authorities who are in the process of conducting an investigation.”
“It would be inappropriate for the University to comment any further at this time,” said the statement.
St. John’s students reacted in disbelief upon hearing of the arrest of Plock, a priest many knew as “Father Charlie” and who was often seen wearing a backwards baseball cap in addition to his clerical collar.
“He seemed like a cool [guy],” said junior Jamal Polite. “You just don’t know who to trust nowadays.”
Sophomore David Oscos also said that he felt Plock appeared to be a friendly individual.
“He helped me move in and he seemed like a nice guy,” he said. “But he wasn’t your typical priest. There was something weird about him.”
Other students refused to speak on the issue altogether.
“It’s very sad and disappointing,” said freshman Charles Miller. “Honestly, I’m in such shock, I can’t even comment.”
Sophomore Tobby Outule said, “It’s shocking, he’s a [priest], you shouldn’t expect that from him. Since this is a Catholic university, you would expect them to instill their morals.”
An official from the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information office said the department could not comment on the case at this time.
Additional reporting by Jose Silva