Accused Catholic Priest Back in Ministry; SNAP Calls Out the Diocese of Wichita
A Wichita Catholic priest who was accused of the sexual exploitation of a child will return to public ministry after the District Attorney said he could not file charges. SNAP is calling out the Diocese of Wichita for putting this cleric back into a position where he may sexually exploit another child.
Father Michael Schemm was placed on administrative leave in November, 2021, after the accusations surfaced. The sexual exploitation reportedly occurred between 1993 and 1996, when the priest was assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wichita. Under Kansas state law, the statute of limitations expired in 2009. The District Attorney said his decision not to file charges was a legal conclusion, and that he was making "no commentary or conclusions” on the accusations.
The Diocese is not only putting others at risk by returning Fr. Schemm into ministry, but it is also re-traumatizing the brave survivor who came forward, as well as any other victims who may not yet be able to speak out about their abuse. SNAP supports the courageus victim, because we know that studies show false allegations of sexual abuse are extremely rare. As survivors struggle to heal from the trauma of abuse, they are damaged again when their once trusted faith family discounts their truth and their pain.
SNAP provides peer support to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. If you or anyone you know has been harmed by Fr. Schemm, we recommend that you do not suffer in silence. Share your story with family, friends, therapists, law enforcement, and groups like ours.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)