Sex Abuse Charge against Ex-Priest Dropped

Associated Press State & Local Wire
January 22, 2004

Prosecutors have dropped a sexual abuse charge against a former priest, saying their case was weak and unlikely to result in a conviction.

Charles F. Dearing, who worked at St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church, had been accused of abusing Theresa Harp between 1966 and 1968. J. Bryan Fantoni, an assistant Jefferson County commonwealth's attorney, asked on Wednesday that the charges be dropped because reports from non-prosecution witnesses conflicted with Harp's account of the alleged abuse.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Thomas B. Wine dismissed the case.

In a telephone interview with the Courier-Journal, Dearing, 80, said he was relieved to have the allegations behind him.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am," he said. Dearing has always denied the allegations.

Harp also was part of the civil suit filed against the Louisville archdiocese, which paid a $25.7 million settlement that resolved the claims of 243 plaintiffs.


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