KY- Predator priest faces charges – 2nd allegation - victims outraged

For immediate release: Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003,

A Louisville priest has been charged with child sex crimes stemming from allegations by a second victim. We hope church officials take this more seriously than they apparently did after the first allegations were reported. 

We are also grateful to the brave victims who have come forward and are giving courage to others to do the same thing.

Fr. Joseph Hemmerle was first accused of abuse in 2001, after a man came forward and told the archdiocese of Louisville. The archdiocese put Fr. Hemmerle back in ministry, falsely claiming police had cleared him. These alleged internal church investigations often exonerate priests who are later civilly sued or criminally charged with child sex crimes.  

Ironically, if there's one prelate in the US who should get this right, it's Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz. He' the head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. His archdiocese has faced more than 250 abuse and cover up lawsuits and has at least 63 proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. But Kurtz and his staff put back on the job a priest who's now been arrested and has had 12 or 13 more years to assault kids. 

In May, Fr. Hemmerle was removed from ministry again after a second victim came forward. He has now been charged with 9 counts of sexual crimes against children.

We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sexual abuse, by Fr. Hemmerle or any other official will find the courage to come forward, report to police, help others and start healing. As this case clearly shows, when victims come forward they give courage to others who have been suffering in silence and self blame. 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Colleen Powell (502-479-0246, [email protected]), Kim Richardson ([email protected]), Jeff Koenig (502-608-2738)


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