Vatican Restores Ex-Fenwick Teacher's Ministry
The Rev. James Kiffmeyer, Who Was Removed from the Priesthood over Allegations of Abuse, Will Get New Ministry Duties Somewhere in the Cincinnati Archdiocese

By Tom Beyerlein
Dayton Daily News [Ohio]
December 30, 2006

The Vatican has overruled Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk by restoring the ministry of the Rev. James Kiffmeyer, a former teacher at Middletown Fenwick High School who was accused of sexually abusing two students and stripped of his priestly duties by Pilarczyk in 2002.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Friday that Kiffmeyer will be reassigned to new duties in the 19-county archdiocese, which includes the Miami Valley.

The Vatican's Nov. 25 decree reversed Pilarczyk's order that Kiffmeyer not present himself as a priest, wear clerical garb, serve as a minister or celebrate sacraments.

The decree directs Kiffmeyer "to avoid situations and persons which might endanger his living up to his priestly commitment, and he is to closely guard his own personal behavior so that no further scandal be caused by any of his actions."

Kiffmeyer always denied that he abused the students, both of whom were at least 18 when the abuse was alleged to have taken place.

He wasn't sued or charged with a crime, though he reached a four-figure settlement with one accuser, according to archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco. Acting on Kiffmeyer's appeal of Pilarczyk's order, the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy ruled that a five-year canonical statute of limitations had expired on the incidents.

The two students accused Kiffmeyer of abusing them in 1990 and around 1986, respectively, but didn't report the incidents until 1997 and April 2002. Pilarczyk placed Kiffmeyer on paid administrative leave later in 2002, Andriacco said Friday.

"The archbishop is completely respectful of the process and the fact that Father Kiffmeyer has a right to appeal his action," Andriacco said. "We're just ready to move forward and support Father Kiffmeyer in his ministry and get him a new assignment."

Pilarczyk will reassign him after the archdiocese priest personnel board makes a recommendation.

Kiffmeyer was ordained in 1985 and on the Fenwick faculty from 1985-91, then taught religion and chemistry at Elder High School from 1991-2002.

He also was an associate pastor at St. Mary Church in Middletown from 1985-89, and lived at St. John parish, West Chester, from 1989-91.


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