Church in Crisis
Louis Holzknecht Jr.

Louisville Courier-Journal
September 29, 2002

[See the main page of this special section on the Church in Crisis.]

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
AGE: 45
ADDRESS: Jefferson County
OCCUPATION: Laid-off stagehand
DEFENDANT: Archdiocese of Louisville
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 the penitentiary."


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