A former priest and registered sex offender hopes his past won’t hurt his employer’s bid to improve neighborhood blight in Wilkes-Barre.
Robert Timchak, 47, works as the office manager for In The Gap, a fledgling grass roots organization that wants to build affordable townhouses on vacant properties owned by the city. Larissa Cleary, a local real estate agent and the group’s founder, will speak to City Council today to ask the city to sell her lots on Hickory and South River streets.
However, there will likely be public input at the meeting about Timchak’s past. In 2009, state police received an anonymous tip alleging Timchak, who at the time was serving as an assistant pastor for the Dioceses of Scranton in Pike County, downloaded child pornography. Police searched his computer and found photographs of naked, underage boys – many around 11 years old, authorities said – and evidence that he tried to delete them. Timchak plead guilty to 17 counts of possessing child pornography in 2010 and was released from prison last June.
Timchak, who is from Wilkes-Barre and has worked at Bishop Hoban High School, returned home after prison. Although he’s technically still a priest, he’s been on a leave of absence from the diocese and is banned from performing religious duties. He’s become an active member of the First Baptist Church of Wilkes-Barre. There, he met Cleary, who hired him last month to help with the organization.