Official announcement from the archdiocese

The following announcement was made by the Archdiocese of Louisville:

Father R. Joseph Hemmerle is on administrative leave as pastor of Holy Cross and St. Francis churches due to an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor. During this time, Father Hemmerle will refrain from all public ministries.

When an allegation of sexual abuse is received, the archdiocese initiates its sexual abuse policies, which include:

  • An administrative leave for the person who has been accused.
  • Outreach to the person making the accusation.
  • A report to civil authorities.
  • An internal investigation of the accusation.

All of these steps are underway.

Per the sexual abuse policies of the Archdiocese of Louisville, the purpose of this notification is to inform all parishioners in the parishes in which an accused priest has served about an accusation and to provide information about how to make a report of child abuse.

Father Hemmerle has served in the following parishes or ministries — all in Louisville except where noted: the former St. Timothy Church (now St. Peter the Apostle Church), Trinity High School, St. Barnabas Church, the former St. John Church, St. Raphael Church, the St. Thomas-St. Vincent Home, Camp Tall Trees (Meade County), St. Bartholomew Church, the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, St. Francis Church in St. Francis, Ky., and Holy Cross Church in Holy Cross, Ky.

The archdiocese is committed to reaching out to those who have been sexually abused by clergy or Church employees. Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse or has information about sexual abuse should contact Martine Siegel, victim assistance coordinator for the archdiocese, at 636-1044 or email

To report abuse to the civil authorities, please call the child protection services or the local police in your county. Please see for a list of these agencies in each county. You also may call the statewide child abuse hotline at 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz has also announced the following appointment:

The Reverend William M. Bowling has been appointed Administrator Pro Tempore of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, Saint Francis, Ky. and Holy Cross Parish, Holy Cross, Ky. effective immediately.

The Record
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The Record
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