Former SJU priest set for court hearing

Rev. Charles Plock, the St. John’s priest who was arrested and fired nearly two weeks ago for his role in an online sting operation, is due back in court for a Nov. 10 hearing, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said.

According to police, Rev. Plock, 63, was arrested Oct.. 10 in his Queens campus apartment after allegedly sending obscene videos to an undercover officer he thought was a 13-year-old boy.

A spokesperson from the DA’s Office said the priest is being charged with attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors and attempted endangering the welfare of a child.

He faces up to four years in prison if found guilty, the DA’s office said.
Dominic Scianna, director of Media Relations, said St. John’s has been cooperating with the NYPD and Colorado police, who first picked up Rev. Plock’s alleged recordings, as an investigation into the case continues.

The priest was let go by the University on the same day following his arrest.
“As of last Friday [Oct..10], he is no longer employed with the University,” Scianna said.

Rev. Plock joined the St. John’s staff in Jan. 2003 and was a member of the University’s campus ministry. He worked in Panama for 10 years and served at Brooklyn’s St. John the Baptist Parish prior to working at the Queens campus.

Rev. Plock was also arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on the day of his arrest and was released on $150,000 bail, according to various news reports.

Numerous media outlets also report a condition of the priest’s release from police custody was for him to check into St. John Vianney Center, a Pennsylvania behavioral health facility for members of the clergy.

In a statement released Oct.. 16 on St. John’s Central, Rev. James Maher, C.M., vice president for Student Affairs, said Plock’s arrest was taken by many as “very sad and painful news.”

The statement also said the University’s Office of Residence Life, Campus Ministry and Counseling Center would be available for any students.

“Please be assured that all of us at St. John’s are always concerned with the well-being of our students,” said Maher in his message. “All of you continue to be in my prayers.”

Scianna said he was unaware of the priest’s whereabouts but said he “would assume Mr. Plock is at the treatment facility.”

According to St. John’s Vianney Center’s official Web site, the facility is owned and operated by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is located in a “suburban area” in Downingtown, Penn.

The center also offers residential and outpatient treatment programs with individual and group therapy sessions, clinical assessments and guest homes.

“Persons seeking admission are individuals who experience difficulty in one or more arena of personal effectiveness which is hampering an active role in ministry,” reads the program overview for the facility’s residential treatment.

“The program emphasizes that a communal experience, which promotes individual responsibility for health and ultimate recovery, can be effective.”

Donna Farrell, Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said the group will not be commenting on the case and St. John’s Vianney Center will not release any information “due to patient confidentiality.”