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Priest Pleads Innocent - Miller Arraigned in Sex-Abuse Case

June 30, 2002

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Priest Pleads Innocent - Miller Arraigned in Sex-Abuse Case

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by Gregory A. Hall, The Courier-Journal

Retired priest Louis E. Miller appeared in court yesterday to face 42 charges of sexually molesting children - the largest such criminal case in recent memory brought against a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville.

Dressed in casual clothes, rather than the clerical garb he is now forbidden to wear, Miller did not speak at an earlymorning arraignment, held just moments after he turned himself in at Jefferson Circuit Court.

His attorney, David Lambertus, entered an innocent plea for Miller, who was booked, fingerprinted and then released from the Jefferson County jail on a $100,000 bond posted by his brother, Kenneth Miller.

The arraignment came one day after a grand jury indicted Miller on charges of sexually abusing 13 boys and two girls between 1959 and 1982 at three Archdiocese of Louisville parishes, as well as a hospital where he worked as chaplain, and in other locations. The alleged victims include former parishioners and a niece (who is the daughter of a deceased brother of Miller).

As a term of his release, Miller, 71, is not to have contact with anyone under the age of 18. Circuit Judge Ann O'Malley Shake scheduled a hearing in the case for July 29.

Lambertus declined to comment after the arraignment. Miller, who retired earlier this year amid allegations that he sexually abused youths, also would not comment when he emerged from jail about 1:40 p.m. with his brother.

In addition to the criminal charges, Miller has been accused in 59 lawsuits filed against the archdiocese this year, alleging abuse between the 1950s and 1980s.

The archdiocese removed him from ministry with children in 1990, and Miller retired in March from his job as chaplain at Sacred Heart Village, a home for the elderly.

The archdiocese forbade Miller from wearing the Roman collar or doing any public ministry earlier this year, according to spokeswoman Sara Warmuth.

Miller is one of 20 current, former and deceased priests accused of abuse in 146 civil lawsuits against the archdiocese. None of those cases has gone to trial yet, and all of the priests named have either not commented or denied guilt.

The only other criminal cases in recent memory alleging sexual abuse against clerics in the archdiocese both occurred in 1988 - in separate cases, a priest and a deacon each pleaded guilty to two charges.

A parochial school teacher was arrested on 16 counts earlier this year and has pleaded innocent.

Staff writer Peter Smith contributed to this story.

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