4th Man Is Removed from the Priesthood after Abuse Charges
Three Others to Live in Prayer, Penance

By Peter Smith
Courier-Journal [Louisville, Kentucky]
October 25, 2005

The Vatican has completed its review of priests accused of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, dismissing a fourth man from the priesthood and ordering three elderly priests to live out their days in prayer and penance.

Joseph Herp - who had been accused of sexual abuse in four lawsuits in 2002 and 2003 - was dismissed from the priesthood, according to a new report on sexual abuse issued by the archdiocese.

The Vatican also ordered Robert Dollinger, J. Irvin Mouser and Edwin Scherzer to live in prayer and penance. They are not allowed to perform any public ministry, present themselves as priests or have unsupervised contact with minors.

The Vatican uses that option in cases of "health problems or advanced age," according to the archdiocese's report. Mouser is 67, Dollinger, 78, and Scherzer, 79, according to court records. The archdiocese said Dollinger, Mouser and Scherzer would not comment .

The decisions in the cases were made public in the archdiocese's newly published annual report on finances and other activities, including its response to sexual abuse.

Scherzer has pleaded not guilty to pending criminal charges. The other three never have been charged. But an archdiocesan review concluded that they committed sexual abuse.

Herp, who could not be reached for comment, resigned as pastor of St. Leonard Church in Louisville in May 2002 after the archdiocese received a complaint against him. He was accused of sexually abusing three boys in the rectory of St. Ann parish in the mid-1970s to the mid- '80s. He also was accused of abusing a boy in an apartment around 1990. One of the lawsuits citing Herp's time at St. Ann was dismissed last year because it was filed after the statute of limitations expired.

Since 2002, when the archdiocese was hit by a wave of abuse lawsuits, a total of nine priests had been removed from ministry.

In previous rulings, the Vatican removed three others from the priesthood - Louis Miller and Daniel Clark, both imprisoned for abuse, and Thomas Creagh. The Vatican also accepted the resignation of Joseph Stoltz from the priesthood.

The Vatican also had ordered another priest, James Hargadon, to live in prayer and penance. Hargadon died in May, one year into an eight-year prison sentence following convictions for sexual abuse.


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