- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 19, 2002

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) A teacher at a Catholic school says the archbishop of Omaha asked her to resign because she told police that a priest had used a church computer to look at child pornography on the Internet.
Archbishop Elden Curtiss acknowledges that he talked with Norfolk Sacred Heart kindergarten teacher Linda Hammond, but he did not say if he asked her to resign. She did not resign.
Madison County Attorney Joe Smith said he was considering charges against Bishop Curtiss, including a count of tampering with a witness. "I'm asking the police to do a little more investigating on it, then I'll make a decision," Mr. Smith said Friday.
Mrs. Hammond has been identified in court as a witness in the case against the Rev. Robert Allgaier, a former Norfolk priest charged in February with attempted possession of child pornography.
She said that Bishop Curtiss asked her to resign May 8, and that at least two other persons were witnesses. The conversation was made public Thursday in a report by the Norfolk Daily News.
In a statement issued Friday, Bishop Curtiss said he did not know Mrs. Hammond was a witness in the case before their brief meeting. To file witness-tampering charges, authorities would have to prove that he attempted to dissuade the teacher from testifying in the Allgaier case.
"Since I did not seek out Mrs. Hammond and did not invite contact with her, the idea that I attempted to influence her role in the forthcoming trial is incorrect," Bishop Curtiss said.


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