BEACONSFIELD, Quebec, Jan. 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A deacon of the Montreal Archdiocese was arrested before Christmas for allegedly producing and distributing child pornography. Police say they seized over 2,000 images from his computer.

William Kokesch worked for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops as communications director from 1995 to 2005 and helped coordinate Canadian participation at World Youth Day in 1997, 2000, 2002, and 2005. At the time of his arrest, he was serving at St. Edmund of Canterbury Church in Beaconsfield on Montreal’s West Island.

The 65-year-old, who is married with five adult children, was arrested Dec. 21 after police searched his home in Pointe Claire and his office at the parish in response to a complaint. He was charged Dec. 22nd and then released Dec. 27th on $10,000 bail.

In releasing him, Quebec Court Judge Louise Villemure ordered that he not be around children under age 18 without an adult who knows of his bail conditions. He must also remove the Internet from his home, and not use devices such as computers, cameras or cell phones with which he could take photos.

Police say they have no evidence of sexual abuse, but are continuing to investigate. His next court date is Feb. 27th.

Kokesch worked as a journalist in Montreal in the 1970s and 1980s. At the CCCB, one of his duties in the early 2000s was to handle the Church’s response to the sex abuse scandal after it blew up in the North American media. After leaving the CCCB in 2005, he served as president for the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada until 2010.

A Vancouver native, Kokesch was ordained a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Montreal in 1981 under Cardinal Paul Grégoire.

In a statement on Dec. 22nd, the Archdiocese of Montreal said Kokesch was immediately relieved of his ministerial and pastoral duties when they learned of his arrest Dec. 21st.

“Child pornography is an affront to human dignity and our first concern is with the victims,” the archdiocese stated. “We extend our prayers to those involved and we invite people to trust in the judicial process, to respect it and to await the conclusions.”

If members of the public have information on the case, the Montreal Police Service is asking they contact their local station or the information line at 1-514-393-1133.

If the charges are proven, Kokesch’s case would be the second child pornography scandal to fall at the door of the Canadian bishops after the 2009 arrest of Raymond Lahey, the former bishop of Antigonish, N.S. Lahey was laicized by the Vatican in May 2012 after he was found guilty of importing child pornography.