Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016
Victims group applauds conviction of predator priest
For 30 years, cleric headed a camp for children in Kentucky
SNAP: “We suspect there are other witnesses, whistleblowers & victims”
Staying “trapped in silence” helps no one, victims say, & “endangers kids,” group stresses
Others who “saw, suspected or suffered abuse” should “come forward” with info, victims plead
A Louisville priest who was accused of molesting two children and spent 30 years running a camp for kids has been found guilty in his first trial. He still awaits a second trial by a second alleged victim after the judge ruled to split the cases, even though both men say they were abused at the same camp. A support group for victims is praising those who helped prosecute the priest and begging others who “may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes or church cover ups” to come forward.
“We’ve talked with two of Fr. Joseph Hemmerle’s victims,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “One of them, Michael Norris, we know well. He is an extraordinarily kind, credible, courageous and compassionate man. And we are grateful that he overcame fear, confusion, shame and self-blame, stood up for himself and others, warned tens of thousands parents about a dangerous cleric and has made it harder for Fr. Hemmerle to hurt other children. We are very, very proud of Michael.”
Fr. Hemmerle was suspended twice – in 2002 and again in 2014 – by Louisville archdiocesan officials because of credible abuse reports.
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jeremy Logsdon (270 287 0034) of Leitchfield handled the case. (For more information about the criminal cases: Constance K. Miller (46th JC) firstname.lastname@example.org)
“At least two brave victims came forward reporting Fr. Hemmerle’s crimes. They deserve our gratitude. Their courage has made kids safer,” said Clohessy. “But we firmly believe that there are others with information or suspicions about Fr. Hemmerle. Those individuals should summon the strength to step up and call police or prosecutors right away.”
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