Status Report on Clerics Credibly Accused of Child Abuse

Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Not Dated, Cached by Google on February 7, 2006

Church law for the United States is very clear in regards to clerics who have abused children:

"When even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, if the case so warrants."

"If the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state has not been applied (e.g., for reasons of advanced age or infirmity), the offender ought to lead a life of prayer and penance. He will not be permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or to administer the sacraments. He is to be instructed not to wear clerical garb, or to present himself publicly as a priest."

"When an accusation has proven to be unfounded, every step possible will be taken to restore the good name of the person falsely accused."

* * *

Following are the names of the living priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who have been removed from ministry because of allegations of child abuse. They are listed by their current status and order of removal.

1. Administrative Leave

Administrative leave is the strongest action a diocesan bishop can take against a priest on his own. Priests on administrative leave may not celebrate the sacraments publicly, engage in priestly ministry, or present themselves as priests in any way. The Archdiocese will announce any change in the status of these priests.

• Ellis Harsham
• Kenneth Schoettmer
• Thomas Kuhn
• Lawrence Strittmatter
• Richard Unwin
• David Kelley
• Daniel Pater
• Thomas Brunner
• Thomas Feldhaus
• Ronald Cooper
• Raymond Larger

2. Permanently Removed from Priestly Ministry

After initially being put on administrative leave, the following have been permanently removed from priestly ministry at the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican. They are prohibited from wearing clerical clothing and publicly presenting themselves as priests. Expected to lead a life of prayer and penance, they are still under the authority of the archbishop and subject to certain priestly responsibilities including celibacy.

• Francis Massarella
• Thomas Hopp

3. Dismissed from the Clerical State

A priest dismissed from the clerical state, which can happen at the direction of the Vatican or as the result of an ecclesiastical penal trial, is permanently dispensed from both the rights and the obligations of the priesthood. This constitutes the Church's ultimate penalty in these matters and is commonly referred to as being defrocked.

• George Cooley
• Keith Albrecht


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