Wichita priest returns to public ministry after allegations of child exploitation

KAKE-TV, ABC-10 [Wichita KS]

March 8, 2022

A Wichita priest who was accused of sexual exploitation of a child will return to public ministry after the district attorney said he could not file charges.

Father Michael Schemm, Church of the Resurrection, was placed on administrative leave in November 2021 after the allegations surfaced. The allegations reportedly occurred between 1993 and 1996, when Schemm was assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wichita.

The child, who would have been between 12 and 15 at the time, would be 40 this year, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said in late January.

Under state law, the statute of limitations expired in 2009, when the alleged victim turned 28. Bennett said his decision was a legal conclusion and and was making “no commentary or conclusions” on the allegations.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita said in a release Tuesday that it notified the DA of Father Schemm’s reinstatement to public ministry.

“Ultimately, the district attorney elected not to further pursue the matter based on his conclusion that ‘the prosecution of any alleged crime in this situation would be time-barred,'” the release said. “The diocese also performed its own investigation into the allegation, which was recently completed and presented to the Charter Review Board (CRB).”

The board also concluded that there was insufficient evidence and recommended that Rev. Schemm return to ministry.

The diocese was working with Schemm and staff at Church of the Resurrection to reintegrate him.

Anyone who suspects abuse, inappropriate behavior or has been harmed by any person who has worked or volunteered for the diocese can contact the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at (316) 440-1757 or CatholicDioceseofWichita.org/promise-to-protect.