KY--Trial set for twice-accused predator priest

Trial set for twice-accused predator priest

Victims group begs others to “come forward” with info

For 30 years, cleric headed a camp for children in Kentucky

SNAP: “We suspect there are other witnesses, whistleblowers & victims

Staying “trapped in silence” helps no one, victims say, & “endangers kids

A November 28 trial date has been set for a Louisville priest who is accused of molesting two children and spent 30 years running a camp for kids.   

The cases are being prosecuted separately and there’s no date yet for the second trial.

Fr. R. Joseph Hemmerle was suspended twice – in 2002 and again in 2014 - by Louisville archdiocesan officials because of abuse reports.

The trial date – November 28 – was set last week by Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jeremy Logsdon (270 287 0034) of Leitchfield who is prosecuting the case. (For more information about the criminal cases: Constance K. Miller (46th JC) [email protected])

“These two brave men deserve our gratitude for coming forward. Their courage has made kids safer,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director. “But they shouldn’t have to carry the burden of prosecuting this predator alone. We firmly believe that there are others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Hemmerle. Those individuals should summon the strength to step up and call police or prosecutors right away.”

“There’s been very little attention given to the fact that Fr. Hemmerle faces two criminal trials,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz should be making pulpit announcements and posting notices in church bulletins and on parish websites begging others with information or suspicions about Fr. Hemmerle to call law enforcement.”

In January 2002, Fr. Hemmerle was put on leave because of an accusation of child sexual abuse. "The archdiocese was aware of the accusation in Sept. 2001, but Fr. Hemmerle wasn't removed until the accuser went to the police," according to

In June 2002, the archdiocese reinstated him, claiming that the police had "cleared" him even though the police were still investigating him.

In May 2014, Fr. Hemmerle was put on leave again when a second man reported that he was sexually abused as a young boy in the 1970s. In Sept. 2014, Fr. Hemmerele was indicted on three counts of sexual abuse and six counts of sodomy involving a child.

Fr. Hemmerele worked at four Louisville institutions: two parishes (St. John's and St. Raphael the Archangel), a school (Trinity High) and an orphanage (St. Thomas-St. Vincent Home). He also worked at Holy Cross parish in Loretto, St. Francis of Assisi parish in St. Francis, Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown and Camp Tall Trees in Meade County.

He was ordained for the Louisville archdiocese in 1967. A photo of him, and his full work history and other information, is available at  

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