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Two More Indictments Issued Against Roman Catholic Priests

Oct 10, 2002 | AP

A retired Roman Catholic priest facing dozens of criminal charges was named Thursday in a fresh round of indictments accusing him and another retired priest of child sexual abuse.

The Revs. Louis E. Miller and James Hargadon were indicted on one count each by a Jefferson County grand jury.

Miller was indicted on one charge of indecent or immoral practices with another. Hargadon was indicted on a charge of second-degree sodomy.

David Lambertus, the attorney for Miller and Hargadon, declined comment on the indictments.

Both priests worked for several churches in the Archdiocese of Louisville. The archdiocese said in a brief statement Thursday that it was fully cooperating with the criminal investigation.

"The archdiocese had never received any reports of sexual abuse concerning Father Hargadon," the archdiocese said.

Miller has been at the center of the legal controversy embroiling the archdiocese. He has been named in 70 of 185 lawsuits filed against the archdiocese by men and women who claim they were sexually abused by priests or church employees when they were children.

Miller was previously indicted twice on 42 felony counts of sexual misconduct in Jefferson County and 14 counts of sexual misconduct in neighboring Oldham County. Miller pleaded innocent to the charges from the previous indictments and has been released on bond.

The latest indictment accuses Miller of fondling a child under the age of 15 in the sacristy of the Church of the Holy Spirit. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 1-10 years in prison.

Carol Cobb, an assistant Jefferson County commonwealth's attorney, said she couldn't discuss details of the case but said the information became known after Miller's previous indictments.

The indictment against Hargadon accuses him of engaging in "deviate sexual intercourse" with a boy under the age of 14. If convicted, Hargadon could serve from 5-10 years in prison.

Hargadon is scheduled to be arraigned Monday; Miller's arraignment will coincide with his next court hearing on Nov. 25, Cobb said.

Cobb said the archdiocese has been cooperating with investigators.

Hargadon has been named in four lawsuits against the archdiocese. The suits filed by four men claim they were sexually abused by the priest when they were children in the 1970s.

Hargadon, 74, was ordained in 1955. He served at several parishes in Louisville as well as in Lebanon and Mount Washington in Kentucky.

After undergoing surgery earlier this year, Hargadon retired from St. Patrick Church in Louisville, where he was senior associate pastor. The archdiocese said that Hargadon was asked to refrain from all public ministry after being named in a lawsuit this past May.

Miller retired in March after the allegations of sexual misconduct became public. He had worked at seven different parishes since 1956. Archdiocese officials have said he has been banned from public ministry and stripped of his collar. He has been living in a retirement home for priests in Louisville.

Hargadon became the third priest from the archdiocese to be indicted. The Rev. Daniel C. Clark was indicted on four felony counts of sexual misconduct in Bullitt County. He has pleaded innocent to the charges.

Cobb was noncommittal on whether more priest indictments were possible, saying authorities would investigate any allegations that might surface.

"Whether there will be additional indictments or not I can't answer at this time," she said.

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