Former Louisville Priest Convicted of Inappropriately Touching a Child Denied Appeal
By Sara Rivest
January 11, 2019
A former Louisville priest found guilty of sexual abuse has been denied an appeal.
In 2016, Father Joseph Hemmerle was convicted in Meade County on one count of inappropriate touching. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
The charge comes from an incident in 1973 where Hemmerle molested a 10-year-old boy at the summer camp he was attending, Camp Tall Tree.
Hemmerle was the camp’s director. According to the appeal, Hemmerle routinely treated campers with poison ivy reactions.
The victim, Michael Norris, testified at Hemmerle’s trial that he was exposed to poison ivy when playing in the woods. He developed an extensive skin rash and sought treatment from Hemmerle.
"I’m now 56 so I live with this every single day, it’s something that never goes away,” Norris said. “Child sexual abuse is a horrible thing but at the hands of the clergy it’s even worse.”
Hemmerle allegedly demanded Norris undress inside his private cabin. He was accused of molesting and performing oral sex on the victim.
|The Archdiocese of Louisville said Hemmerle’s pension will not be affected by his conviction. (Source: WAVE 3 News)|
Hemmerle also taught Norris at Trinity High School.
“I got a little emotional this morning when I saw that the appeal had been agreed to or denied on his part because that’s been lingering,” Norris said.
Norris was back in town on Friday to meet with the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“It’s not about them, it’s about me,” Norris said. “I’m trying to put closure on this whole thing and move forward. I’ll never fully be able to move forward, but it is one step in the process and I’ve been wanting to meet with Archbishop Kurtz for a while now and to finally be able to do that. He is a busy man and for him to take the time to meet with me - it was a really good discussion.”
The Archdiocese of Louisville said Hemmerle’s pension will not be affected by his conviction. They previously said it was not affected because Hemmerle was in the appeal process but said Thursday it will not be affected since he is retired.
They have no further comment.