Bishop: Priest Abused Boys
Former Jasper Pastor Died in '88

Associated Press, carried in The Courier-Journal
August 21, 2007

Jasper, Ind. — A Roman Catholic bishop told members of a Jasper parish that a priest sexually abused boys during nearly three decades at the church.

Evansville Diocese Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger did not say how many boys Monsignor Othmar Schroeder was believed to have abused during his time at Holy Family Church or when the abuse happened.

Gettelfinger spoke during weekend Masses at the church, saying that he learned several years ago of the allegations against Schroeder, who died in 1988, but had found out that the scope of the abuse "is greater than we knew."

Schroeder was the founding pastor of Jasper parish in 1947 and remained at the church until he was transferred in 1975 to Sacred Heart Church in nearby Schnellville.

"I have the utmost respect for those who have suffered so much for so long," Gettelfinger said in his statement. "My heart aches for each one. I regret that I feel so helpless to remove the pain."

Gettelfinger, who has led the Evansville diocese since 1989, said that because of the findings about Schroeder, the priest's photograph had been removed from Holy Family Church and that he was asking that a Jasper Knights of Columbus council named in Schroeder's honor be renamed.

Diocese spokesman Paul Leingang said yesterday that he did not know what prompted the bishop's announcements.

Leingang said that no lawsuits have been filed against the diocese over the abuse allegations.


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