A retired Roman Catholic priest has been indicted on 42 counts of sexual misconduct after dozens of people 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 59 of the 146 lawsuits filed against the Louisville Archdiocese, with plaintiffs saying the church knew about his alleged misconduct and failed to take disciplinary action. Thirteen of the lawsuits were filed Wednesday.
Miller has denied the accusations. His attorney, David Lambertus, said Wednesday that neither he nor his client would comment.
Spokesman Brian Reynolds said archdiocese is cooperating with investigators.
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.
“Now the court will show he did do something wrong and nobody else will be hurt,” said Bernard Queenan, one of the alleged victims. Queenan claims he was abused by Miller as a child at Holy Spirit Church and School in Louisville in 1960 and 1961.
A warrant for Miller’s arrest was issued. Lambertus told prosecutors his client was out of town and that he didn’t know Miller’s exact whereabouts but would get back to prosecutors.
Each count of indecent and immoral practices carries a prison sentence of one to 10 years; the sexual abuse count is punishable by one to five years.
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.
The criminal indictment against Miller is the latest filed against U.S. priests this year.
A central figure in the church sex abuse 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.