Accused Priests Remain on Payroll
Many Area Priests Facing Accusations of Abusing Youth Are Still Paid by Archdiocese of Cincinnati

By Tom Beyerlein
Dayton Daily News [Ohio]
April 22, 2007

Kenneth Schoettmer was convicted of a felony in 2003 and is on Ohio's sex offender registry. In 2004, Thomas Kuhn was convicted of 11 misdemeanor counts of public indecency and providing alcohol to minors. More than three dozen men sued David Kelley, alleging he sexually abused them as boys.

All three remain priests on the payroll of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The national clergy child sexual abuse scandal of 2002 hit home five years this month, when Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk suspended Rev. Tom Hopp for molesting boys. Hopp has since been permanently removed from ministry.

But he's in the minority. Of 18 area priests credibly accused of abusing youth, 10 are still suspended with pay while they await possible defrocking by the Vatican and one, James Kiffmeyer, was reinstated because the accusers had turned 18 before the abuse occurred.

"(Kuhn) is basically on a paid vacation right now. That just sends me into a tizzy," said Mike Knellinger, co-founder of the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group. "I just don't understand what's taking so long."

Five other priests have been defrocked, though three of those cases predated 2002. Two others — Hopp, 66, and 91-year-old Francis Massarella — were removed from ministry but remain under the archdiocese's care because they have health problems.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said archdiocesan leaders are as frustrated as anyone with the slow pace of the Vatican's church-law process. He said Pilarczyk in 2004 requested faster action on the area priests awaiting judgment.

"We want them all to be gone. We're very frustrated," Andriacco said. "We believe that action in these cases is part of the healing process. We'd be farther along that path if these cases had been handled faster."

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2264 or tbeyerlein@


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.