What to Know
Timothy O'Connell, a Villanova University campus minister, is accused of using the popular mobile messaging app Kik to view child porn.
O'Connell, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, allegedly used Villanova's secured internet account to access the app and view the child porn.
He faces up to ten years in prison if convicted.
A Villanova University campus minister is accused of using a popular mobile messaging app to view child porn.
Timothy O’Connell, 51, of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with child pornography.
O’Connell’s arrest was the result of an FBI investigation on another suspect who O’Connell was allegedly in contact with. Police say O’Connell received sexually explicit images of children from another man identified as Justyn Perez-Colon in February. The images were shared via the mobile messaging app Kik, according to an affidavit.
O’Connell allegedly described an explicit image of a young girl as “very hot” and “very nice.” Investigators also say O’Connell used prepaid phones to view the child porn in order to hide it from his family.
Perez-Colon was arrested on Feb. 14 and charged with production of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. Investigators obtained the cellphones Perez-Colon used to send the child porn to other people, including O’Connell, officials said.
On Friday, investigators obtained warrants to search O’Connell’s Drexel Hill home, Villanova University office and his two vehicles.
On Tuesday, O’Connell was taken into custody and allegedly confessed to FBI officials to receiving the child porn from Perez-Colon. O’Connell also admitted to being sexually attracted to a girl in the 3rd grade who he babysat, according to the affidavit.
O’Connell worked as a campus minister at Villanova University for seven years. Investigators say he used the school’s secured internet account to access Kik.
“Villanova University is appalled and horrified by these allegations,” a spokesperson for the school said. “The university has suspended this individual and he is not permitted to return to campus.”
O’Connell's neighbor spoke to NBC10 about the allegations.
“I don’t know how true any of this is,” she said. “It’s unbelievable. They are very nice people. And we’re shocked.”
If convicted, O’Connell, who has a wife and two sons, could face up to ten years behind bars.