Father Hemmerle found guilty in Meade County

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Father Joseph Hemmerle

Record Staff Report

Father Joseph Hemmerle, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, was found guilty on one count of immoral or indecent practices with a child by a Meade County jury Nov. 29.

Father Hemmerle, accused of abusing two boys at Camp Tall Trees in Meade County, Ky., in the 1970s, was tried in Meade County this week in the case of one of his accusers.

The jury recommended seven years during the sentencing deliberations following a two-day trial. He was released on bond pending a sentencing hearing on Feb. 9.

The priest was initially accused of abuse by the plaintiff in 2001, but was cleared after investigations by local police and the Archdiocese of Louisville. An accusation by another individual was made in 2014 and the Archdiocese of Louisville subsequently placed Father Hemmerle on administrative leave. He was indicted on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy in September of that year.

At the time, the priest was pastor of St. Francis Church in St. Francis, Ky., and Holy Cross Church in Holy Cross, Ky.

According to the archdiocese, Father Hemmerle also has served in the following parishes: the former St. Timothy Church (now part of St. Peter the Apostle Church); St. Barnabas Church; the former St. John Church; St. Raphael Church; St. Bartholomew Church; and the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Ky. He also served at Trinity High School, Camp Tall Trees in Meade County, Ky., and St. Thomas-St. Vincent Home.

Father Hemmerle will stand trial on charges related to the second accuser in April.

Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse or has information about sexual abuse is encouraged to contact Martine Siegel, the victim assistance coordinator for the archdiocese. She can be reached at 636-1044 or victi
massistance@archlou.org.

To report abuse to civil authorities, call the child protection services or the local police in your county. Visit www.archlou.org/report for a list of these agencies by county.

The statewide child abuse hotline is available at 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331.

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