Former Indiana Priest Was Confined to Home in New Mexico

Associated Press State & Local Wire
May 9, 2002

A former Catholic priest at a southern Indiana church was sent more than a decade ago to a home for members of the clergy accused of sex offenses.

The Rev. Joseph L. Clauss became a resident at an institution in New Mexico after he was accused of sexually abusing a child in 1990 in Ohio.

Clauss, 71, is a former pastor of Resurrection Catholic Church in Evansville.

Paul Leingang, a spokesman for the Evansville Catholic Diocese, told the Evansville Courier & Press that Clauss has performed no priestly functions since 1990, and was not allowed to leave the Jemez, N.M., home without supervision.

The institution is run by the Servants of the Paraclete, a religious community that operated psychiatric treatment centers for Catholic clergy with sexual disorders.

It was unclear how long Clauss remained at the center, which offered professional counseling between 1982 and 1995 but stopped providing treatment altogether in 1995 because of pedophilia publicity.

Clauss is one of several retired or deceased Evansville diocese priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors and were sent away for treatment. Evansville Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger has declined to name others.

Leingang had few details about the child abuse that prompted Gettelfinger to end Clauss' ministry. He said the allegations were initially reported to the Evansville diocese in 1990. Diocese officials then shared the information with authorities in Ohio.

At the time, Clauss was pastor at St. Peter Catholic Church in Montgomery, Ind. He was pastor at Evansville's Resurrection Church from 1975 to 1986.

Clauss, a former high school teacher at Memorial High School in Evansville, also was superintendent of St. John High School in Loogootee and Catholic High School in Washington, Ind.


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