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Ky. Grand Jury Indicts Retired Priest

Jun 26, 2002 | AP

A retired Roman Catholic priest was indicted Wednesday on 42 counts of sexual misconduct after dozens of victims came forward saying they were abused as children.

The Rev. Louis Miller, 71, faces six counts of sexual abuse and 36 counts of indecent and immoral practices.

Miller has been accused in more than 50 of the 133 lawsuits filed against the Louisville Archdiocese, with plaintiffs saying the church knew about his misconduct and failed to take disciplinary action.

Miller has denied the accusations.

The priest worked at seven different parishes since 1956 before retiring in March after the allegations became public. Archdiocese officials say he has been banned from public ministry and stripped of his collar, and that he has been living in a retirement home for priests in Louisville.

More lawsuits have been filed against Roman Catholic dioceses in Kentucky than in any other state. Most involve the Louisville Archdiocese, which includes 220,000 parishioners in 24 counties — and many allege abuse by Miller over more than four decades.

Three of suits also allege sexual abuse by the former Lexington Bishop J. Kendrick Williams when he was a priest in Louisville. Williams, 65, has denied the allegations, but he resigned this month, becoming the third U.S. bishop brought down by the sex scandal engulfing the church.

The criminal indictment against Miller is the latest filed against U.S. priests this year.

A central figure in the scandal, the Rev. Paul Shanley, was charged last week in Massachusetts with abusing four boys during the 1980s. Criminal charges against clergy also have been filed in at least eight other states and other cases are pending.

Miller is the first priest to have criminal charges brought against him in Louisville since the allegations became public in April. Officials with the archdiocese and Miller settled two lawsuits accusing him of abuse in 1990 and 2000.

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