List of Priests with "Credible" Accusations Includes Three with Local Ties
By Amanda Browning
Cnhi News Indiana
October 14, 2018
Three priests with ties to the Greensburg area are included on a list of 30 clergy accused of sexual abuse released by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Oct. 11.
The religious were alleged to have committed abusive acts against 103 children and adolescents. Of those, there were seven potential area victims.
“I pray the release of this list of credibly accused clergy will help all survivors of sexual abuse find the strength to come forward and will set them on the path to healing,” said the Most Rev. Charles Thompson, archbishop of Indianapolis. “I apologize to all victims for the abuse that was done to them and for the failure of the church to keep them from harm. I pledge to do everything within my power to protect our youth.”
The list includes 19 priests for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, as well as four priests who were members of religious orders serving the archdiocese back through the 1940s. The list of the credibly accused was compiled on the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Review Board, which includes five laypersons and one clergy member, who work to investigate and review each abuse allegation. Board members have current or former positions in law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, child protective services, education, child development, social work, psychology and law, according to Thompson.
The archdiocese said an allegation was considered credible if “after a thorough investigation and review of available information the accusation was determined to be more likely to be true than not.” The list is separated into those found to have credible claims against them, those accused of improper relationships with “vulnerable” adults, and those who were deceased before claims were made against them.
One priest who served at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Greensburg, John Bernard Schoettelkotte, was among those deemed to be credible of at least one act of sexual abuse of a child or adolescent. He is accused of abusing five victims during a period between 1964-67. He also served at other churches in Greencastle, Greenwood, New Albany, Bloomington, Columbus and North Vernon. Schoettelkotte was removed from the priestly ministry in 2003.
According to an Indianapolis Star article published June 28, 2002, Schoettelkotte was placed on administrated leave after church officials substantiated an allegation that he had inappropriately touched a teenage girl more than 30 years ago. The same article states that Schoettelkotte was assigned to 15 parishes since his ordination in 1960.
A March 12, 2005, Courier-Journal article states the civil suit filed by one of Schoettelkotte’s victims was settled when statements from the victim and then-Archbishop Daniel Buechlein were published in The Criterion, the archdiocese newspaper.
Patrick Doyle, who was ordained in 1975, has a single claim against him which was deemed credible by the review board involving a “vulnerable adult, age 18, who was an adolescent when at least the emotional aspects of the relationship began” around 1987. He was removed from the priestly ministry this year.
Among his many appointments, Doyle served as a priest moderator at St. Maurice Catholic Church, Napoleon. He was suspended in September after a report of sexual misconduct taking place several decades ago was received by the archdiocese’s victim assistance coordinator, according to archdiocese archives.
The list also included four clergy members who died before claims of abuse were made against them. With the abuse having allegedly taken place in the 1940s and 1950s, there was no way to substantiate the claims, nor to investigate the deceased. The review board recommended releasing the names, however, “out of an abundance of caution and transparency.”
George Ziemer was ordained in 1919. He has one claim against him, with the abuse allegedly taking place between 1955-57. Ziemer previously served at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Greensburg. He died in 1980.
[st of the credibly accused clergy can be found at http:]
Archdiocese leaders urge anyone who is or has been a victim of sexual abuse or harassment by a person ministering on behalf of the Catholic Church, or anyone who knows such a person, to contact civil authorities and archdiocesan victim assistance coordinator Carla Hill at 800-382-9826, Ext. 1548; or firstname.lastname@example.org. Online reports may be made at www.archdioceseofindianapolis.ethicspoint.com.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111, Ext. 7004; email@example.com