Update: Owensboro Priest Arrested on Child Sex Abuse Charges
By David Shepherd
June 8, 2012
A former priest at Blessed Mother Catholic Church in Owensboro was arrested Friday morning after a grand jury indicted him on charges of sodomy and sexual abuse on a child under the age of 12, according to city police.
72-year-old Louis Piskula of Owensboro is in the Daviess County Jail on those charges.
This is not the first time Blessed Mother Church has drawn fire. Last year a man committed suicide in the church's parking lot claiming he had been a victim of sexual abuse by a priest there. No charges were filed in that case but this new incident puts the church in the spotlight once again.
For Owensboro native, Aaron Layson, the thought of a priest molesting a child in his neighborhood is shocking.
He said, "It's a bad feeling really. You don't like it when things like that happen. You feel like you should be able to go to places like that and be safe."
But a male victim came forward in February of last year saying things at the church weren't safe when he was going there. He accuses Piskula of molesting him back in 1978.
Owensboro Police spokesman, officer Michael Hathaway explains, "The claim was that it happened in 1978, which is one of the reasons we had taken so much time looking in to this case to try to confirm before we made any accusations to the commonwealth's attorney."
Piskula now faces charges of sodomy and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 after a grand jury returned an indictment against him earlier this week.
Layson says, "Doing it to a child who can't fight back, who is scared, who they don't know where to go, where to turn to, they don't know how to tell anybody. The problem never gets solved and they have to live with this for the rest of their life." He continued, "Someone that they should be able to turn to when something like this happens and they can't because they're the one doing it."
The Diocese of Owensboro declined to speak on camera but in a statement obtained by Eyewitness News, the church claims it reported the incident "promptly to police." The statement also said, "the diocese has cooperated fully in the investigation that followed."
The statement also says the priest now accused of the crime, "Had not been in any ministerial assignment since 2002 in accordance with the policies enacted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People."
"It's nice to think, though, that he'll be put to justice. If convicted, I think he should be punished to the fullest limits of the law," said Layson. "Maybe he regrets what he did but it's already done. You can't change the past. It's coming back to him now."
Calls to the current priest at blessed mother were not returned.
The diocese says, since the grand jury has returned an indictment, it will not make any further comments on the matter.
OWENSBORO - Owensboro police have arrested a priest accused of molesting a male child back in 1978, according to a news release from the department Friday.
72-year-old Louis F. Piskula was a priest at Blessed Mother church in Owensboro when the alleged abuse took place.
Details are sketchy at this hour but police say the arrest comes after an investigation in to the matter.
Piskula is currently in the Daviess County Jail. Click on the link below to see the news release regarding the arrest that was issued by the Owensboro Catholic Diocese.
Eyewitness News is just getting this story in to the newsroom. We'll have updates through out the day on-air and on-line.