LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — A Catholic priest in Kentucky is set to be released from prison after serving nearly four years for sexual abuse that happened in the 1970s.
Father R. Joseph Hemmerle testified at his 2016 trial in Meade County that he would sometimes apply calamine lotion to the genitals of children at a church summer camp, with their permission. He was found guilty of one count of indecent or immoral practices with a child under 15.
Hemmerle is set to be released on Oct. 1, according to the state Department of Corrections. He will be on probation for six to eight months.
The victim who testified against Hemmerle said the priest, now 79, should not go free.
”I’m concerned this guy is getting out,” Michael Norris told WAVE-TV in Louisville. “He can show up next door and you won’t have a clue who this man is. Your children can get around him. I can tell you from my own experience they don’t want to go through that.”
Norris told a jury that when he was 10 years old, Hemmerle stood him on a stool with no clothes and sexually abused him in the priest’s personal cabin. Norris said he went to him for poison ivy treatment.
According to a statement from the archdiocese, Hemmerle is no longer part of the Archdiocese of Louisville but he is still a priest.