Elderly Pedophile Priest Gets 20 Years

UPI [Louisville KY]
May 27, 2003

LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 27 (UPI) -- Admitted pedophile priest the Rev. Louis Miller was sentenced to 20 years Tuesday for molesting 21 children over 40 years.

The 72-year-old retired Catholic priest pleaded guilty March 31 to 50 counts of sexual abuse and faced a maximum 400-year prison sentence. He will be eligible for probation after serving four years.

Miller still faces trial next month in Oldham County Circuit Court on 14 charges of child sexual abuse and is the defendant in 94 civil lawsuits on behalf of alleged victims, some now adults.

The Archdiocese of Louisville is the target of 252 lawsuits -- exceeded only by the Archdiocese of Boston -- filed since allegations against Catholic priests began in April 2002. Church leaders have denied any attempted cover up of alleged abuse.

The Louisville Courier Journal said Miller had admitted in a deposition he was a pedophile and said three archbishops kept him in the priesthood for 47 years.

"I did a very excellent job, except for that damn abuse," he testified.

Miller was accused of abusing two dozen children while he was associate pastor at Holy Spirit Church from the time he was ordained in 1956 to 1961. He was restricted from working with children in 1990 by Archbishop Thomas A. Kelley and began a two-year sabbatical.

He was chaplain of the Sacred Heart Village home for elderly from 1992 until his retirement in March 2002.

Miller's sentencing came two days after the suicide of a former Wisconsin priest accused of abusing children.

Siegfried Widera, a former priest, died of severe head injuries Sunday night after he leaped from a third-floor balcony at the Vista Dorado Hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Widera was accused of 33 counts of child molestation in California and nine counts in Wisconsin between 1976 and 1985. Widera, 62, received three years probation in 1973 after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Wisconsin. He allegedly continued to molest boys in California until he was removed from the priesthood in 1985.


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