Priest chaplain at Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse had abuse record

In January, Lindsey Faust and her partner visited the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Kentucky, for a mini vacation. Faust was a former volunteer with Loretto Volunteers and shared a rapport with the sisters and community members. It was almost like home to her. During their stay, Faust's partner, out of curiosity, inquired about the priest who lived there, celebrating daily Mass. It was then that a community member revealed details about Fr. J. Irvin Mouser that no volunteer knew.

Mouser, a priest from the Archdiocese of Louisville, was removed from public ministry in 2002 on charges of child sex abuse. He is accused of abusing five boys during his time as a priest at the parishes of St. Helen in Barren County and St. Francis of Assisi in Jefferson County. The Holy See directed Mouser to live a life of "prayer and penance" — he was not to serve in any active ministry as priest, celebrate Mass publicly or don clerical garb.

But Mouser did all of that while living in Loretto, where he served as chaplain to the Sisters of Loretto. There he was also in close proximity to children, since students from a nearby high school and young children would often visit the motherhouse and the adjoining farm.

When lawsuits alleging sexual assault were filed against Mouser, then-Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville (who died in 2011), sent Mouser to live in a private residence on the property of the Loretto Motherhouse. The archdiocese confirms that he was explicitly directed not to serve in active ministry. But at the request of the sisters, Mouser began offering Mass to them privately. The archdiocese is now led by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz.

"After a special request from the Sisters of Loretto, Archbishop Kelly permitted Father Mouser to provide private and restricted ministry to the Sisters, primarily in the infirmary. The Holy See approved this exception. Father Mouser was never appointed as the chaplain for the Sisters of Loretto," said Brian B. Reynolds, chancellor of the archdiocese, in a statement.

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