A Catholic priest has reached a plea agreement on sexual abuse charges that occurred at a summer camp that he ran for over 30 years in Meade County.
Joseph Hemmerle, 74, of Louisville, was facing allegations of abuse from a second person who said Hemmerle abused him at Camp Tall Trees. He was convicted in November of abusing a boy who attended the camp in the 1970s and sentenced in February to seven years in prison.
The Associated Press reports that one of Hemmerle’s victims told a jury in November that when he was 10 years old, Hemmerle stood him on a stool with no clothes on and sexually abused him in the priest's personal cabin. The victim testified he went to Hemmerly for treatment for poison ivy.
Hemmerle said in testimony that he would occasionally apply calamine lotion to the genitals of campers, with their permission, but denied abusing anyone.
Hemmerle entered an Alford plea Wednesday, meaning he didn't admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors could win a conviction in court. His plea deal on sexual abuse and wanton endangerment charges requires an additional two years in prison and eight years of probation.
The priest led the summer camp from 1970 to 2001 and also taught at Louisville Trinity High School from 1967 to 2001.