Priest says he touched camper’s genitals, but denies abuse

Daily News

By DYLAN LOVAN Associated Press

BRANDENBURG, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville priest charged with committing sexual abuse at his Catholic summer camp in the 1970s testified Tuesday that he would sometimes apply calamine lotion to the genitals of child campers, with their permission, but he denied abusing his accuser.

The Rev. Joseph Hemmerle said from the witness stand during a trial in Meade County that he never abused the alleged victim, Michal Norris. The county was the site of Camp Tall Trees, a summer camp Hemmerle ran for three decades beginning in the 1970s.

Norris said when he was 10 years old, Hemmerle stood him on a stool with no clothes and sexually abused him in Hemmerle’s personal cabin. Norris testified he went to the priest for poison ivy treatment.

The 74-year-old Hemmerle testified that he didn’t remember Norris at the camp, but “there’s no doubt in my mind” that Norris was not abused by him.

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