Priest Cleared in Sex Abuse Investigation Faces New Accusations

May 12, 2014

Father Joseph HemmerleArchdiocese of Louisville's Office

A priest from the Louisville Achdiocese is on leave after a sexual abuse allegation surfaced.

It's the second allegation made against Father Joseph Hemmerle.

Hemmerle has been a priest in Marion County since June 2003. Parishoners said they are waiting on the results from the investigation before passing judgment.

On Thursday, the Archbishop of Louisville sent out a letter to parishioners with Holy Cross and Saint Francis, advising that Hemmerle is being investigated for a sexual abuse allegation stemming from the 1970s.

"We had a different priest this Saturday night," said parishioner Geraldine Fogle.

Fogle has been a member of Holy Coss parish for most of her life. She said the recent accusation has shaken the congregation.

"It makes you think about your religion. You don't know whether you're doing right or wrong when you hear a priest and all them gets in that kind of trouble because we're supposed to look up to them," Fogle said.

"I was shocked. It just came out the blue because just last Wednesday we had a funeral down here and talked to him," said parishioner Jane Ballard.

Back in 2002, Hemmerle, a former Trinity High School teacher, was cleared of another allegation also stemming from the 1970s.

Ballard said the priest is an active member of the community.

"When he first came here, he made it a point to go to every family's home and introducing himself and talking to them," Ballard said.

The victim reported that the abuse occurred in Meade County.

He first reported it to the Archdiocese of Louisville, who urged him to contact police.

The archdiocese also wrote to the commonwealth's attorney in Meade County regarding the allegation.

In a statement, the Archbishop of Louisville asked parishioners to keep Hemmerle and all victims of sexual abuse in their prayers.








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