Priest Named in Sexual Abuse Case; Diocese Offers Counseling

By Smita Madan Paul
Cincinnati Enquirer
December 12, 1992

The Diocese of Covington, Ky., offered counseling for anyone who may have suffered from alleged sexual abuse by a retired Roman Catholic priest who taught at Xavier University and several Northern Kentucky schools.

The Rev. Earl Bierman, 61, surrendered to Kentucky State Police at the Campbell County Courthouse Friday and was released on $ 5,000 bond after being charged with two counts of sodomy.

Bierman is accused of assaults in July and August 1974, in Newport. Police decline to name the complainant, who was 15 at the time.

In a statement, Bishop William Hughes said he is "deeply concerned for all involved in this tragic situation."

"The depth of pain and suffering for victims, their families and for those who are accused is extreme," the statement said.

The statement also urged anyone who has suffered from the actions of priests or employees of the diocese to contact the central office for counseling or therapy.

Bierman worked for more than three decades in Northern Kentucky as a pastor and teacher.

After being ordained in 1957, Bierman worked as assistant pastor of St. Patrick School starting in 1964. In 1968, he started a part-time position at Covington Latin School.

By 1979, he had returned to St. Patrick Church in Maysville, Ky., as an associate pastor. Bierman then started work as administrator of St. John the Baptist Church in Dry Ridge.

He also taught theology at Thomas More College and philosophy at Xavier University during the 1980s.

Bierman was removed from active ministry four months ago by Hughes, said the Rev. Thomas Sacksteder, diocesan spokesman.

If convicted, Bierman could face five years in prison.

At least two other people have accused Bierman of molesting them:

- Jerome Junker, 34, of Covington, who is himself a former priest, has said Bierman sexually molested him and solicited him for sex when he was a juvenile in 1973 and 1974. Junker says he has reported the activity to the diocese and to Kentucky State Police.

- Richard Strunck, of London, Ky., on Tuesday sued Bierman, the Diocese of Covington and two diocesan officials. He has reported to the diocese that the priest physically and sexually assaulted him from when he was 12 to when he was 16, and that church officials knew Bierman had physically and sexually abused and assaulted other boys.

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with either Junker's or Strunck's allegations.


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