Retired Priest Indicted on Sex-Abuse Charges
3 Alleged Victims Part of Settlement
By Gregory A. Hall
The Courier-Journal [Louisville KY]
February 24, 2005
The Rev. Edwin Scherzer will be arraigned Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court on charges that he sexually abused four boys in the late 1950s and mid-1960s.
Three of the four alleged victims previously filed lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, accusing the priest of abuse, and were part of the $25.7 million sex-abuse settlement that plaintiffs reached with the archdiocese in 2003.
A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Scherzer this week.
"It's a long time coming," Thomas Weiter, one of the accusers, said in a telephone interview.
Scherzer, 79, is ill, said Brian Reynolds, chancellor and chief administrative officer for the archdiocese. He would not discuss details, however, saying to do so would be inappropriate.
Ordained in 1950, Scherzer retired in 1995. He was at St. Edward parish from 1956 to 1960 and at St. Therese from 1960 to 1969, according to the archdiocese.
Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly removed Scherzer from public ministry in 2002 after Catholic bishops in the United States approved a policy calling for priests suspected of having sexually abused a child to be removed from ministry.
The Vatican is considering whether Scherzer should be removed from the priesthood, Reynolds said.
He said information about the indictment would be forwarded to the Vatican, but the charges would not put the church proceeding on hold.
Prosecutor Jonathan Heck said the decision to seek an indictment was based on evidence and the accusers' sentiments.
"Following the wishes of the victims, we went forward," Heck said.
Weiter said he and another accuser had discussed why Scherzer hadn't been charged in connection with their allegations.
As a result, Weiter said he decided to pursue prosecution.
In the indictment, Weiter accuses Scherzer of sexually abusing him some time between 1963 and 1966. Weiter has said he attended St. Therese church and school at the time.
The indictment also accuses Scherzer of abusing George Geraghty some time between 1964 and 1965. In civil litigation, Geraghty has said he attended St. Therese church and school at the time.
A third count accuses Scherzer of choking and sexually abusing John Scott after instructing the boy to take off his clothes. The time frame of the allegation is between July 1956 and September 1957.
Scott said during civil litigation that he was abused when he attended St. Edward Church.
A fourth count involving an alleged victim who did not file a lawsuit accuses Scherzer of similar conduct in the same period of time.
Archdiocesan officials were aware of the investigation by Jeffersontown police, which led to the indictment, and cooperated, Reynolds said.
Scherzer did not comment in 2002 when the lawsuits in which he was accused of abuse were filed.
He could not be located for comment yesterday.
Calls to Scott and Geraghty were not returned.