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Church Faces More Woes

Additional cases of priest abuse alleged

Dec 5, 2003 | The Cincinnati Post Since the Archdiocese of Cincinnati signed a historic agreement with Hamilton County prosecutors two weeks ago, 15 more allegations of priest sex abuse have been brought to prosecutors, including one that accuses the current pastor at St. John Neumann in Pleasant Run of inappropriately touching a boy more than 20 years ago at another parish.

Because the most recent of the alleged incidents happened decades ago, the statute of limitations has expired and none can be prosecuted.

Some of the priests accused in the new allegations are dead.

One who isn't is the Rev. Thomas Feldhaus, now pastor of St. John Neumann. He's on administrative leave during investigation of claims that he inappropriately touched a child in 1979 while serving at St. Therese the Little Flower parish in Mount Airy.

"Father Feldhaus expressed shock and did not acknowledge guilt," the archdiocese noted in a release Thursday.

In November, the archdiocese was informed of the allegations by the accuser's father in a telephone call, archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said Thursday.

The man told archdiocese employees his son told him he'd just made the accusations against Feldhaus in an interview with a television station.

Archdiocesan employees asked the father on the phone if the son would talk to church officials.

The father "put his hand over the phone and asked the son, and (the son) said, 'I don't want to talk to any priests,' " Andriacco said.

An archdiocesan employee not a priest then wrote a letter to the accuser's family, but received no response.

In another letter, received Monday by the archdiocese, a WXIX television employee wrote that Ch. 19 had interviewed the accuser and was seeking comment from the archdiocese.

The archdiocese asked to see the video and other information about the accusations but thus far hasn't received them, Andriacco said.

The case is the first publicly noted by the archdiocese since it was convicted two weeks ago of five counts of failing to report allegations of priest sex abuse of minors to authorities in the 1970s and 1980s.

That is believed to be the first time in U.S. history that an archdiocese was convicted of such a crime.

As part of that conviction, the archdiocese agreed to contact the Hamilton County prosecutor's office when it received subsequent allegations of sexual abuse by church employees.

The allegation against Feldhaus was verbally reported to prosecutors before the plea and resulting agreement and has been formalized since with a letter, Andriacco said.

Placing Feldhaus on administrative leave was the strongest action the archdiocese could take without approval from higher authorities in the church.

Feldhaus was ordained a priest in 1976 and also has served at Lateran University in Rome, Our Lady of Victory in Delhi Township, St. Michael in Ripley, Ohio, and as a chaplain at Good Samaritan Hospital. He has been pastor at St. John Neumann since 2001.

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