LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A Kentucky Catholic priest is set to be released from prison after serving nearly four years for sexual abuse in the 1970s.
R. Joseph Hemmerle testified during his 2016 trial in Meade County that he sometimes applied calamine lotion to the genitals of children at a religious summer camp, with their permission. He was convicted of one count of indecent or immoral practices with a child under the age of 15.
Hemmerle is expected to be released on October 1, according to the state’s 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 be released.
“I’m afraid this guy is going away,” said Michael Norris WAVE-TV in Louisville. “He can show up next door and you will have no idea who this man is.” Your kids can get around it. I can tell you from my own experience that they don’t want to go through this.
Norris told a jury that at the age of 10, Hemmerle placed him on a stool without clothes and sexually assaulted him in the priest’s personal cabin. Norris said he went to see him for poison ivy treatment.
According to a statement from the Archdiocese, Hemmerle is no longer part of the Archdiocese of Louisville but is still a priest.