Covington Priest Cleared of Sex-Abuse Claims
Man Put on Leave after Allegations
Associated Press, carried in Courier-Journal
February 20, 2005
The former No. 2 official of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has been cleared of an allegation of sexual abuse, but has not received a new work assignment.
Diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said a new assignment for the Rev. Gerald Reinersman is still under consideration.
An ad hoc committee that Bishop Roger Foys formed to investigate the abuse charge found no reason that Reinersman couldn't return to active ministry.
Reinersman wrote in a statement published in the diocese newspaper, The Messenger, that he was always confident a full and fair investigation would clear him. "Thanks be to God, that day has finally come," he wrote.
Foys placed Reinersman on administrative leave in May, after a Lexington man accused him of repeated sexual abuse in 1979 at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary parish in Lexington.
The man said he was 7 or 8 at the time, and had repressed all memory of the abuse until several years ago. He apparently was involved in a lawsuit against the diocese. According to the committee's statement, both he and Reinersman gave videotaped depositions to attorneys last month.
The diocese first planned to have the Archdiocese of Chicago review the accusation against Reinersman, since he had worked closely with the diocese's own sexual misconduct committee, but changed course in October, when the coordinator of the archdiocese's review board said she couldn't get a meeting with the complainant.
Instead, Foys appointed an independent committee of three people to look into the complaint.
Although the committee cleared Reinersman, it couldn't rule out that his accuser simply accused the wrong priest and recommended the diocese continue to make counseling available to the accuser.
Reinersman said that for the rest of his life he would feel grateful to those who believed in him and encouraged him through what he called a nightmare.
"I have found great comfort in the Scriptures, prayer and especially in the Holy Eucharist," he wrote. "I have discovered new depths of faith, strength, patience, empathy and courage, which I hope can be used for the spiritual well-being of others as I begin to return to the priestly ministry I love."
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