|Judge: Priest's Probation Will Not Be Revoked
By Jason Riley
The Courier-Journal [Louisville KY]
June 15, 2007
Probation will not be revoked for an 81-year-old Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of abusing four boys but failed to complete sex-offender treatment, a judge has ruled.
Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Susan Schultz Gibson ruled yesterday that the Rev. Edwin Scherzer, a priest in the Archdiocese of Louisville, is technically not deemed a "sexual offender" because he wasn't convicted of a sex crime under current state law. Therefore, he isn't required to enter or complete the program, she said.
Gibson also said she could order Scherzer to complete the program because it was a condition of his probation set by the previous judge. But Gibson said Scherzer is in poor health and living in an assisted-living facility and "poses little risk to others."
"Those resources would be better used in supervising those who post a danger to the community," Gibson concluded.
Scherzer was sentenced last year to five years of probation for abusing four boys between 1956 and 1966, convicted of four felony counts of indecent or immoral practices with a child under 15. That charge was repealed in 1974.
The plea agreement did not call for Scherzer to enter a sex-offender program, but the sentencing judge at the time, Kenneth Conliffe, ordered Scherzer to complete the treatment.
Scherzer 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 had asked Gibson to send Scherzer to prison for the remainder of his five-year sentence.
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 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.
Jason Riley can be reached at (502) 582-4727 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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