LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Kentucky priest who was sentenced to prison for the sexual assault of juveniles in Meade County was up for parole Monday and it happened in a rare open hearing with the assault victims testifying against Father Joseph Hemmerle.
It was Hemmerle’s first parole hearing after being denied shock probation back in September.
Parole hearings are usually closed to the public but one victim, Michael Norris, requested the hearing be open.
In February, Hemmerle was sentenced to seven years in prison after the court found him guilty of molesting Norris more than 40 years ago at Camp Tall Trees in Meade County.
If parole is granted, Father Hemmerle would have served almost a year of a 7-year sentence. Norris says Hemmerle needs to stay in jail.
“He has not – to date – he has not admitted what he did. He is still hiding behind his collar. He’s hiding behind his supporters. He needs to come to terms with the fact that he is a twice-convicted pedophile and he needs to start dealing with his sickness. He’s a sick man. And until he starts doing that, he is a danger to society and he needs to stay where he is at,” Norris said.
WHAS11 News contacted the Archdiocese of Louisville for comment on the possibility of Father Hemmerle’s parole but they have yet to respond.
A decision on the parole is expected later this week.