Woman, church settle molestation lawsuit

Associated Press/March 12, 2005

A woman who accused a Roman Catholic priest of molesting her during the 1960s when he worked at a New Albany church has settled her lawsuit against the Indianapolis archdiocese.

The settlement was completed earlier this month when a joint statement by victim June L. Kochert and Archbishop Daniel Buechlein of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis was published in the March 4 edition of the archdiocesan newspaper.

The statement said the Archdiocesan Review Board substantiated the allegations against the Rev. John B. Schoettelkotte.

"Father Schoettelkotte subsequently resigned his post and has been barred from performing any priestly functions," according to the statement.

Kochert had sued in August 2002, claiming that Schoettelkotte, who was then a priest at St. Mary Catholic Church in New Albany, abused her from 1964, when she was about 15, until 1967, when she left New Albany.

Susan Borcherts, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Friday that Schoettelkotte "doesn't want to talk, and I'm going to respect his privacy."

The statement says Kochert sued "in a search for answers and not for monetary compensation," and gets no money from the settlement.

It says that some of the questions have no answers but that Kochert "obtained some of what she needed: The abuse allegation was substantiated and the priest is no longer in ministry."

Kochert and Buechlein have met and "They now agree that it is time to move forward, work together and ensure that nothing like what happened to her ever happens again," according to the statement.

Kochert's attorney, Kyle Williams, said the lawsuit was "kind of a spiritual thing" for his client.

The statement does not address the allegations in Kochert's lawsuit that the archdiocese and the archbishop had known before transferring Schoettelkotte to St. Mary's in New Albany that he had allegedly "engaged in sexually deviate and unwelcome sexual contact with young women."

It also does not address Kochert's allegation that she reported the abuse against her to church officials three times dating back to 1969, but that no action was taken until 2002.

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