Prosecutors Seek to Revoke Priest's Probation

By Jason Riley
The Courier-Journal
June 12, 2007

An 81-year-old Roman Catholic priest sentenced last year to five years of probation for abusing four boys between 1956 and 1966 has violated conditions of his release by failing to complete sex-offender treatment, according to court records.

The Rev. Edwin Scherzer, a priest in the Archdiocese of Louisville, was kicked out of the state's Sex Offender Treatment Program in November for violating his treatment contract by refusing to admit he abused three of the four boys, according to a supervision report.

The Jefferson commonwealth's attorney's office and state Division of Probation and Parole have asked Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson to send Scherzer to prison for the remainder of his five-year sentence.

Assistant Jefferson Commonwealth's Attorney Jon Heck said yesterday, however, that while Scherzer was ordered to complete the program by the court as part of his sentence, a judge may not be able to enforce the order.

Heck said that Scherzer is not required under state law to complete the program because the crimes he was convicted of -- four felony counts of indecent or immoral practices -- do not require sex-offender treatment. Also, that provision was not in the plea agreement entered by the defense and prosecutors.

Former Jefferson Circuit Judge Kenneth Conliffe sentenced Scherzer. It is now up to Gibson to decide if Scherzer violated his probation by not completing the program.

Scherzer's attorney, David Lambertus, declined comment.

In November 2005, Scherzer pleaded guilty to four felony counts of indecent or immoral practices with a child under 15.

He agreed to spend five years under house arrest.

Scherzer also was to complete a sex-offender treatment program and register with the sex-offender registry, among other conditions.

Part of the treatment program includes accepting responsibility, but Scherzer would only admit "a portion of the claims of one victim," according to his supervision report in court records.

Scherzer retired in 1995. Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly removed him from public ministry in 2002.

In 2005, the Vatican ordered Scherzer to lead a life of prayer and penance but did not remove him from the priesthood.

Scherzer cannot perform any public ministry, present himself as a priest or have unsupervised contact with minors.

Reporter Jason Riley can be reached at (502) 582-4727.


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