Pastor indicted on decades-old sex-abuse charges

WLKY-TV News, Kentucky/September 9, 2014

By Anna-Lysa Gayle

Marion County, Kentucky -- A pastor with the Archdiocese of Louisville faces criminal charges. Joseph Hemmerle is accused of sexually abusing a boy decades ago.

In May, the archdiocese sent out a letter to parishioners in Marion County advising them that Hemmerle was being investigated after his accuser came forward.

Hemmerle has since been indicted by a Meade County grand jury on six counts of sodomy and three charges of sexual abuse.

A man who claimed he was abused by Hemmerle at Camp Tall Trees four decades ago sent the following statement to WLKY:

"After dealing with this for the majority of my life, I trust in the legal system and that with an impartial jury, justice will prevail, finally bringing closure."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests also issued a statement Tuesday about the indictment, which said, "We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sexual abuse, by Father Hemmerle or any other official will find the courage to come forward, report to police, help others and start healing."

Hemmerle has been on administrative leave since May.

The alleged victim said his only motivation in coming forward was to make sure other children aren't abused.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Louisville said it "encourages victims of sexual abuse to report their abuse to the police, and we hold all victims of abuse in our prayers."

Hemmerle faced similar accusations in 2002, but the church cleared him of any wrongdoing.

He will be in court next month.

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