Former Pastor Will Not Face Criminal Charges

Ed Ronco, KCAW – Sitka

The former pastor of the Catholic Church in Sitka will not face any criminal charges in connection to questionable material found on Parish computers in November.

Father Edmund Penisten was removed from his job as pastor of St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in mid-November after software programs alerted church officials to possible pornographic material on computers at the Parish.

Sitka police Lt. Barry Allen says investigators at a state-run computer forensics lab did not find anything on the hard drives that would warrant criminal charges.

Father Pat Travers is spokesman for the Diocese of Juneau, which oversees the parish. He said Penisten remains at a church-affiliated residential facility in the Lower 48 states for evaluation. The Diocese did not disclose where specifically.

An update posted to the Diocese website says Bishop Edward Burns learned Wednesday that no charges would be filed, and that the diocese would continue working to determine if Penisten is suited for ministry.

Prior to arriving at St. Gregory’s in October, Penisten worked at Holy Name Parish in Ketchikan.

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