Archdiocese: 48 Louisville Priests, Others Credibly Accused of Sex Abuse
By Chris Kenning
Louisville Courier Journal
February 8, 2019
Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz on Friday released the names of 48 archdiocese priests and members of religious orders credibly accused of child sexual abuse dating back 70 years, the first such accounting since the priest abuse scandal exploded in 2002.
The report, prepared by former assistant U.S. attorney and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark Miller, follows a growing number of Catholic diocese from Atlanta to Indianapolis issuing similar lists, spurred partly by a 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury investigation that reignited outrage and sparked new priest-abuse investigations.
Kurtz said the list was meant to provide transparency and healing for a “tragic history” and said the list is only a beginning, not a final accounting. The numbers will likely rise, he said, and he said he hoped the report would inspire others to report abuses.
Of the 48 named people, 22 were archdiocese priests with at least one substantiated allegation. Another 14 were priests (including one who became a bishop) and other members of religious orders such as Franciscan Friars, and 12 were priests with credible allegations for which there was insufficient information to fully investigate or confirm.
Nearly all the priests were publicly known, and the rest had died before allegations were made. The list doesn’t detail the allegations or when they occurred. All but one report of abuse dated from the 1980s or earlier.
The report notes that most occurred prior to 2002, a time when “reports of child sexual abuse were considered more of an unpleasant personnel matter than a serious crime” and “were not sufficiently investigated nor fully addressed. Serious priest accountability was lacking.”
Survivor advocates who have been calling for such a list for years welcomed it but questioned why it took so long.
"It's a belated, grudging step forward taken only under duress. But still, every perpetrator's name made public increases healing for his or her victims and increases safety for other kids," said David Clohessy, a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Louisville was one of many communities rocked in 2002 by revelations that Catholic Church leaders commonly shifted pedophile priests between assignments to help cover up abuse.
Hundreds of abuse survivors sued the archdiocese in 2002, which paid them $25.7 million and adopted new policies. The 2003 lawsuit settlement outed dozens of predator priests, deacons and church workers.
The late Archbishop Thomas Kelly publicly apologized, changed policies and removed abusive priests.
That included requiring that all abuse cases be reported to police if the accused still lives; banning priests or deacons who abuse from ministry; and prohibiting settlements from including confidentiality clauses.
Michael Norris, whose allegations led to the 2016 conviction of former Trinity High teacher, the Rev. Joseph Hemmerle, for molesting him as a boy in the 1970s at archdiocese-run Camp Tall Trees, said he was skeptical of the findings and argued an attorney general’s investigation is needed.
Illinois’ attorney general, for example, found last year that the state’s six dioceses received sex-abuse-related allegations for approximately 690 clergy but publicly reported just 185 of the allegations. Many were not adequately investigated.
“My case is a perfect example,” Norris said. “The church told me in 2001 that my accusation was not credible. Yet an unbiased jury and appeals court found that my accusation was credible utilizing the exact same evidence available to the church in 2001,” he said.
The website BishopAccountability.org contains a database that lists 65 publicly accused priests from the Louisville Archdiocese.
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is backing a bill in the state legislature that would allow him to ask the state Supreme Court to call a grand jury to investigate Kentucky's Catholic dioceses.
Friday's report was ordered by Archdiocese of Louisville Sexual Abuse Review Board.
Miller, the KSP commissioner, said he spent three months reviewing thousands of documents, including personnel and victim files detailing alleged abuse in places such as a confessional, lake house and a priest’s residence.
Young victims were given gifts, alcohol and cigarettes, the report said. Priests told them to keep it a secret.
About five priests were responsible for most of the abuse. Priests Louis Miller, Arthur Wood and Daniel Clark were responsible for more than 170 reported cases.
Of the 22 archdiocese priests with at least one substantiated child sex abuse allegation, 12 were removed from the ministry. Eight were prosecuted and convicted.
Miller said that before 2002, when sex abuse drew lawsuits and publicity, there were few abuse reports in priest files.
When there were, “the focus appeared to be on protecting the priest,” Miller said. His report noted that in victim files, the comments “usually focused on how they might bring scandal to the Church.”
There are no pending reports of abuse against priests in active ministry, he said,
The focus on priest abuse has increased since the Pennsylvania grand jury report found that church leaders protected more than 300 "predator priests" for decades because they were more interested in safeguarding the church and abusers than tending to nearly 1,000 victims.
Other attorneys general have since launched investigations.
In October 2018, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis released the names of more than 20 priests who had at least one "credible" claim of sex abuse of a child or adolescent against them, including two priests who the church said each had more than a dozen victims. That list included 19 priests for the archdiocese and four who were members of religious orders who served in the archdiocese, dating back to 1940.
Millers said there had been a "sea change" since 2002, in church responses to such allegations. And Kurtz said anyone with an allegation of abuse should contact the authorities and the archdiocese.
Here's the list of 22 priests with at least one substantial abuse allegation:
The Rev. Robert A. Bowling - Ordained 1954. Incardinated into the Diocese of Reno in 1972. Deceased in 2003.
The Rev. Joseph Carrico - Ordained 1967. Left priesthood and laicized by Holy See in 1974.
The Rev. Daniel C. Clark - Ordained 1980. Convicted and incarcerated in 1988 and received no further assignments. Removed from 20 ministry, per Charter, in 2002. Additional charges of child abuse brought again in 2002; dismissed from the priesthood by the Holy See in 2004.
The Rev. Thomas P. Creagh – Ordained 1967. Removed from ministry in 2002. Dismissed from priesthood by the Holy See in 2004. Deceased 2008.
The Rev. C. Patrick Creed – Ordained 1951. Deceased 2001.
The Rev. Robert J. Dollinger – Ordained 1954. Removed from public ministry in 1994. Removed from ministry, per Charter, in 2002. Directed to lead a life of prayer and penance by the Holy See in 2004. Deceased 2012.
The Rev. John Elder – Ordained 1941. Deceased 1993.
The Rev. Bruce Ewing – Ordained 1974. Left priesthood in 1977. Convicted of child abuse in 2003 and dismissed from priesthood by the Holy See in 2004.
The Rev. James E. Hargadon – Ordained 1955. Removed from ministry in 2002. Convicted and incarcerated in 2004; deceased in 2005 after being directed by the Holy See to lead life of prayer and penance.
The Rev. R. Joseph Hemmerle – Ordained 1967. Removed from ministry in 2002, pending investigation and returned to ministry in 2002. Removed from ministry again in 2014. Convicted and incarcerated in 2016/2017. Continues to be removed from ministry pending final action of Holy See.
The Rev. Joseph T. Herp – Ordained 1973. Removed from ministry in 2002. Dismissed from priesthood by the Holy See in 2005. Deceased 2013.
The Rev. Hermann J. Lammers – Ordained 1932. Deceased 1986.
The Rev. Louis E. Miller – Ordained 1956. Removed from ministry in 2002. Convicted and incarcerated in 2003. Dismissed from priesthood by the Holy See in 2004 and died while in prison in 2017.
The Rev. Joseph I. Mouser – Ordained 1965. Removed from ministry in 2002 and directed by the Holy See to lead a life of prayer and penance in 2005.
The Rev. Stephen A. Pohl – Ordained 1985. Removed from ministry in 2015. Convicted and incarcerated in 2016. Resigned from priesthood and laicized by the Holy See in 2016. (Unlike others on the list, this was a possession of child pornography case).
The Rev. Joseph Rives – Ordained 1920. Deceased 1971.
The Rev. Edwin J. Scherzer – Ordained 1950. Removed from ministry in 2002. Directed to lead a life of prayer and penance by the Holy See in 2004. Convicted in 2005. Deceased in 2017.
The Rev. James R. Schook – Ordained 1975. Removed from ministry in 2009. Convicted and incarcerated in 2014. Directed to lead a life of prayer and penance by the Holy See in 2014. Deceased in 2018.
The Rev. Joseph H. Stoltz – Ordained 1973. Removed from ministry in 2002. Resigned from priesthood and laicized by the Holy See in 2004.
The Rev. James W. Thompson – Ordained 1944. Removed from ministry in 2002. Deceased 2006.
The Rev. Henry G. Vessels – Ordained 1950. Deceased 1980.
The Rev. Arthur L. Wood – Ordained 1959. Deceased 1983.
Previously: Condemned by the Vatican, women priests demand place at altar
Here's a list of the 14 credibly accused religious order priests and others:
The Rev. Theodore Meisner (Congregation of the Resurrection)
The Rev. Kevin Cole (Conventual Franciscan Community)
The Rev. Daniel Emerine (Conventual Franciscan Community)
Brother Francis Dominic (Conventual Franciscan Community)
The Rev. Orderic Auer (Conventual Franciscan Community)
Rev. James Kilkenny (Dominican Community)
The Rev. Anselm Sippell (Franciscan Friars)
The Rev. Juvenal Pfalzer (Franciscan Friars)
The Rev. Philip Bronk, Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity
The Rev. Dominic Savino, Order of Carmelites
Deacon James Griffith (Passionist Community)
The Rev. J.B. Ormechea (Passionist Community)
The Rev. Kent Piper (Passionist Community)
Bishop J. Kendrick Williams (Diocese of Lexington) (Abuse related to when Williams served as a diocesan priest in Louisville)
Here is a list of priests who were accused but there was not enough information to fully investigate and confirm the report:
Name, ordination year, date of death/status
The Rev. Bertrand S. Boone, 1941, 1983
The Rev. Bertrand J. Brian, 1950, 2005
The Rev. Thomas P. Caspar, 1956, 1991
The Rev. William P.Caster, 1954, 1989
The Rev. Robert A. DeWitt, 1960, 1999
The Rev. J. Donald Gallagher, 1940, 1968
The Rev. Linus T. Giesler, 1941, 1999
The Rev. George R. Greenwell, 1942, 1996
The Rev. Frank Gunther, 1945, 1991
The Rev. James E. Hagan, 1956, Left priesthood, 1973; Laicized, 1974
The Rev. Joseph T. Neeson, 1890, 1966
The Rev. George J. Waldie, 1947, 1996