Priest Pleads Guilty to Abusing Teen Boys

By Brenda J. Breaux
Cincinnati Enquirer
May 5, 1993

The Rev. Earl Bierman pleaded guilty Wednesday to 29 counts of sexually abusing teen-aged boys, a plea that could put him in prison for 20 years.

The plea agreement combines charges from three counties - Mason, Kenton and Campbell - that indicted the 61-year-old Erlanger priest last month. They charge Bierman sexually abused six boys from the mid-1960s to late 1970s, including 21 counts of sodomy and eight counts of indecent practices.

"The man suffers from an illness and he did what he thought was right today," said Clayton Shea, Bierman's lawyer.

"If you wanted to choose a disease in which to suffer, it would not be pedophilia. This is a man who has been in therapy and has been symptom-free for a long, long time. We are now answering charges from the 1960s and 1970s."

Shea said that Bierman has not abused children since entering treatment for the third time in 1980.

The indictments cite incidents while Bierman was a counselor, teacher or associate pastor at Covington Latin School and Mother of God Church in Covington, St. Barbara Church in Erlanger and St. Patrick Parish in Mason County.

More than 60 alleged victims of the priest have contacted Kentucky State Police. Commonwealth Attorney Lou Ball said he got a call Monday from another alleged victim. Bierman "is probably sick, but he's still a criminal. Everybody who is charged and convicted of a crime is probably sick," Ball said. "In my opinion, pedophiles are pedophiles forever."

Ball asked Campbell County Circuit Judge William Wehr to sentence Bierman to three, 20-year sentences to be served concurrently. Sentencing will be June 23.

Richard Strunck, the victim of many of the charges to which Bierman confessed, said: "I do understand that he is a pedophile and is sick. But you don't take an alcoholic and put him in front of a bar and you don't take a pedophile and set him free with a bunch of children on the street."

Campbell County will continue to pursue Covington Diocese records on Bierman that may contain other criminal allegations, Ball said. The Kentucky Court of Appeals is expected to decide soon whether the diocese must obey Wehr's order to turn over the records.


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