Couple Appeal Dismissal of Lawsuit against Louisville Archdiocese

The Courier-Journal
June 21, 2011

A former parish bookkeeper and her husband are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit alleging she was fired by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville for objecting to the presence of an alleged sex abuser residing on church property.

Margie Weiter and Gary Weiter Sr. filed notice of the appeal last week with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

The Weiters sued the archdiocese and several church officials in January in Jefferson Circuit Court. They alleged that Margie Weiter was wrongfully fired from her job at St Therese in Germantown in May 2010 in retaliation for her complaining about the presence of the Rev. James Schook, who had been the subject of an abuse accusation that the archdiocese later concluded was valid.

Schook had resided at the parish for several months after the accusation was announced in July 2009, when he was placed on leave as pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Church.

The archdiocese has said Weiter lost her job due to a budget cut, not due to retaliation.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Mitch Perry dismissed the lawsuit in May. He said the court could not review the claim because of the constitutional ban on government interfering with how religious organizations discipline members in this case, an allegedly abusive priest.

Perry also ruled that Margie Weiter's case didn't fit Kentucky's laws governing wrongful-firing claims. He also denied their claim that a priest who formerly supervised Margie Weiter, the Rev. Anthony Olges, trespassed on her property by hand-delivering a letter removing the Weiters as bingo volunteers at St. Therese.

The archdiocese announced in March 2010 that it considered accusations against Schook to be credible. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz instructed him to live a life of "prayer and penance," in which he would remain a priest but no longer minister publicly.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.