Assignment Record– Rev. Joseph N. Muench

Summary of Case: Muench was accused in 2009 of having sexually abused five youths in the 1980s. He pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment and attempted sexual abuse related to two of the cases, and was sentenced in May 2010 to two one-year terms in jail, to run concurrently. He was released in September 2010.

: 1981


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Covington bishop was William Anthony Hughes (1979-1995).

1981? Good Shepherd


Muench was accused in 2009 of sexually abusing a teenager, using force, while at this parish between July 1, 1980 and Dec. 31, 1981. (The State Journal
March 19, 2010)

KY   Muench was ordained in 1981, but may have been assigned to Good Shepherd as a seminarian prior to ordination.
1981 1984 Holy Cross



KY 3/4, 3/3 Parish had a grade , school with 304-357 students, and a high school with 94-104 boys and 122-103 girls.
1984 1986 Good Shepherd


Accused in 2009 of having sexually abused three teenage boys while at this parish in the 1980s. (The State Journal
October 22, 2009)

Another man accused Muench in 2009 of having sexually abused him, by force, when he was young at Good Shepherd. (The State Journal
October 22, 2009)

KY 2/2 Parish had an elementary school with 292-265 students and a kindergarten and Montessori school with 52-51 students.


The Lexington diocese was established in 1988. Its bishop was James Kendrick Williams (1988-2002).

1993 St. Martha's Prestonsburg KY 1/1, 1/2  
1986 1993 Our Lady of the Way Hospital Martin KY   This was a chapel of St. Martha's in Prestonsburg.
1986 1993 St. Luke's Sayersville KY   This was a mission of St. Martha's in Prestonsburg.
1993 1994         Muench is not indexed in the 1994 Directory, nor is he listed at his previous or next assignments.


Williams was replaced as Lexington bishop by Ronald William Gainer
(2002- ).


St. Andrew's

Harrodsburg KY 1/1 St. Andrew's had a catechesis program with 75-104 students.



2006 St. Mary's Perryville KY   This was a mission of St. Andrew's in Harrodsburg.
2003 2004 Good Shepherd Frankfort KY 1/2

Parish had a school with 332 students and catechesis with 71 students.

Muench is indexed and listed in the Lexington diocesan pages in the 2004 Directory at both Good Shepherd and St. Andrew's.

2006 2009 Mary, Queen of the Holy Rosary Lexington KY 1/2

Parish had a school with 604-468 and a catechesis program with 656 students.

Muench was placed on Administrative Leave in July 2009 due to allegations stemming from the mid 1980s. (Herald-Leader
July 12, 2009)

Muench pleaded guilty in to unlawful imprisonment and attempted sexual abuse related to two of the accusations from the 1980s. He was sentenced in May 2010 to one year in jail. (State-Journal
May 20, 2010) He was released from jail in September 2010. (WKYT
September 23, 2010)

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1982-2009 )

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Muench's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Oct. 16, 2010.