Sex Abuse Concealed, Suit Claims

By Dan Horn
Cincinnati Enquirer
November 6, 2003

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati was accused in a lawsuit Wednesday of concealing the molestation of two Catholic schoolchildren more than 40 years ago.

The lawsuit, filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, claims church officials knew that the Rev. Albert Schetter was a threat to abuse children but did nothing to stop him.

Church officials acknowledged Wednesday that Schetter, who died last year, had admitted to child abuse in the past and had been warned 10 years ago by his supervisors to stay away from children.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said church records show that the archdiocese received complaints from the 1960s about Schetter's "odd behavior" around children.

At one point, Andriacco said, Schetter was ordered to attend a spiritual retreat because of his behavior.

But he said there is no record of a sexual abuse allegation against Schetter until 1992, when a man complained Schetter molested him in the early 1960s when he was in school at Annunciation parish in Cincinnati.

The man who complained, Bruce Gehring, is one of the two plaintiffs who filed suit Wednesday. The other plaintiff was not identified.

Gehring complained that church leaders ignored him when he told them in 1992 about his experience with Schetter.

Church officials said they treated Gehring fairly, offered him counseling and sought his advice in 1993 when they wrote the archdiocese's first Decree on Child Protection.


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