Jury weighs priest’s fate in molestation case


Chris Kenning , @ckenning_cj November 29, 2016

After Louisville Catholic priest Joseph Hemmerle took the stand Tuesday to deny that he’d sexually abused a young boy at a summer camp in the 1970s, a Meade County jury at 3 p.m. began considering his fate following a two-day trial.

Hemmerle, 74, faces two counts of immoral or indecent practices after being indicted in 2014 on charges of sex abuse and sodomy. If found guilty, he could get up to 20 years in prison.

Michael Norris, 53, of Texas, testified on Monday that at Camp Tall Trees near Otter Creek Park in 1973, Hemmerle told him to report to his cabin one night to treat poison ivy. Norris said Hemmerle told him to strip and stand on a stool for treatment before touching him sexually with his hands and mouth.

He alerted the archdiocese and Kentucky State Police in 2001, but no charges were brought until a second accuser from the camp came forward in 2014. That case will be heard separately in April of 2017.

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