Church in Crisis
Louis Holzknecht Jr.
September 29, 2002
[See the main page of this special section on the Church
Holzknecht, the subject of one suit against the archdiocese, pleaded guilty
and received a 40-year prison sentence on Sept. 6 in a sexual abuse case
involving two boys, one of whom is now an adult. The 60-year-old Holzknecht
is a retired postal worker and former volunteer parochial school coach.
The victims in the criminal case have not filed civil lawsuits. However,
the prosecutor of the criminal case, Christie Floyd, said police received
several other allegations against Holzknecht, including the one in the
civil case. Prosecutors agreed not to pursue those cases in exchange for
Holzknecht's guilty plea. According to the prosecutor, Holzknecht coached
at Most Blessed Sacrament and St. Athanasius, but hadn't held either of
those positions in years. Holzknecht was never an employee, so an archdiocesan
spokeswoman has said it cannot confirm where or when Holzknecht coached.
PLAINTIFF: Patrick T. Hughes
ADDRESS: Jefferson County
OCCUPATION: Laid-off stagehand
FILED SUIT: Aug. 22
DEFENDANT: Archdiocese of Louisville
DATE AND LOCATION OF ALLEGED ABUSE: About 1966, Iroquois
ACCUSATION: Oral sex
DETAILS OF ALLEGATION: When Hughes was about 7 and in
the third and fourth grades, he said he was in a carpool, in which Holzknecht
drove, for a Most Blessed Sacrament football team. Holzknecht was a volunteer
coach of the team. Hughes said that on three or four occasions when he
was the last one to be dropped off, Holzknecht would take him to Iroquois
Park and abuse him.
WAS ANYONE TOLD? Hughes said he told a priest, whose
name he does not remember, in confession and gave names during that confession
of other boys in the carpool he suspected also were abused. He said his
father later contacted someone at the rectory and was told that the situation
would be handled. Holzknecht was not a coach the next football season,
and Hughes said his family assumed that Holzknecht had been reported to
the police. Hughes said he never heard of Holzknecht again until he was
arrested this year.
IN THE PLAINTIFF'S WORDS: "He should have been in