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Metro Council Aide, A Former Priest, Charged With Rape And Sodomy

Jan 31, 2003 | The Courier-Journal

An aide to a member of the Louisville Metro Council was indicted yesterday on rape and sodomy charges stemming from allegations that he abused a girl when he was a priest in the 1970s.

The charges against Bruce O. Ewing, who left the priesthood in 1977, mirror those in a lawsuit filed in April against the Archdiocese of Louisville by Janet Goodner, who alleged she was sexually abused by Ewing from 1974 to 1976 when he was at St. Vincent de Paul Church. She alleges the abuse started when she was about 14.

Ewing has worked since Jan. 6 as the legislative assistant to Metro Council member Denise Bentley, D-1st District. Bentley said yesterday that she intends to retain him for now.

''I believe he is innocent until proven guilty,'' she said. ''The allegations are serious, but this needs to work through the judicial process.''

Ewing, 54, denied the allegations when he was accused in the lawsuit, saying he knew Goodner's family well and she never said anything to him about the allegations.

Ewing did not return messages yesterday, and Goodner has declined to comment on the allegations. Before working for Bentley, Ewing served eight years as an assistant to Alderman Steve Magre and before that was an ombudsman for residents relocated for the expansion of Louisville International Airport. He also has been a tavern owner, police chaplain and mechanic for the city's Department of Public Works.

The indictment charges him with one count of third-degree rape and two counts of thirddegree sodomy; both crimes are felonies punishable by one to five years in prison.

A defendant is guilty of those offenses when he is 21 or older and engages in sexual intercourse and deviate sexual intercourse, respectively, with a person under the age of 16.

Goodner's lawsuit was the fifth of 211 that have been filed since April against the archdiocese, alleging that it knew or should have known that children and young adults were being abused but concealed it.

In another indictment returned yesterday by the Jefferson County grand jury, the Rev. Louis E. Miller was indicted on five additional criminal counts for allegedly engaging in indecent practices with three children: Mark A. Miller Sr., his nephew; Charles M. Kremer; and John Eifler. Mark Miller and Kremer previously filed lawsuits accusing Miller of sexual abuse; Eifler hasn't sued but was one of about 20 members of the Holy Spirit Elementary School class of 1962 who claimed Miller abused them and who have organized to support those who filed lawsuits.

In all, Miller is charged in Jefferson and Oldham counties with abusing 29 children, and he has been accused of sexual abuse in 81 of the suits filed against the archdiocese.

Miller, who has retired and has been removed from ministry, has pleaded innocent to the charges in previous indictments.


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