LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A retired Roman Catholic priest pleaded innocent to felony sexual misconduct involving 15 alleged victims.
The Rev. Louis E. Miller could face up to 10 years in prison for each of 36 counts of indecent and immoral practice and up to five years for each count of sexual abuse.
Calls to his lawyer, David Lambertus, were not immediately returned Thursday. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Louisville said he would not comment.
Miller, who worked at seven different parishes since 1956, is accused of abuse in 59 of the 146 lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Louisville. Thirteen of the suits were filed Wednesday afternoon, just after Miller was indicted. The plaintiffs allege the church was aware of Miller's conduct but did not take appropriate disciplinary action.
Also Thursday, the Archdiocese of Boston, citing a weak economy, said it plans to slice its budget by a third, cutting 15 positions as well as aid to parishes, schools and hospitals.
Chancellor David Smith said the cuts had been planned since last November and were to be implemented over the next two years, but were instead condensed into one year.
Smith blamed the struggling economy for the cuts and downplayed any effect from the sexual abuse scandal that has engulfed the Roman Catholic Church.
Also Thursday, the archdiocese made public a letter Cardinal Bernard Law sent to Bishop Gerald Barnes of the San Bernardino Diocese in which Law apologizes for approving the transfer of the Rev. Paul Shanley in 1990 without warning of his history of sexual abuse allegations.
Shanley is in jail in Massachusetts awaiting trial on child rape charges. He has pleaded innocent.
In the letter, dated June 19 and received Wednesday, Law reiterated that he did not know of allegations against Shanley until 1993. Records showed allegations against Shanley dated to the 1960s.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts prosecutors are backing proposed legislation filed Thursday to eliminate the statute of limitations in rape cases. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said the cases of child sexual abuse by priests prompted him to propose the bill, filed by state Rep. Martin Walsh, D-Boston.
In developments elsewhere:
-- A priest accused of sexual misconduct involving teen-age girls has been removed from his parish in suburban Detroit, officials said. The Rev. Robert Wyzgoski, pastor of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Beverly Hills, was fired this week because of recently discovered allegations about sexual misconduct in the 1960s.
-- The Scranton, Pa., diocese said Thursday it has removed five more priests found guilty of sexual misconduct. Bishop James Timlin declined to identify the priests.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.