Diocese of Covington Releases Names of Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors Since the 1950s

The list of 90 religious and lay people includes 59 priests who have substantiated accusations against them, including four still living in the Greater Cincinnati area

Aug 4, 2020 at 11:24 am
Covington's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Covington's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption

The Diocese of Covington has published a list with the names of the priests, brothers, sisters and lay employees/deacons who have had the accusations made against them of the sexual abuse of minors substantiated.

The list does not say what each individual allegedly did or what accusations have been substantiated. 

According to the diocese, the list is a result of a "comprehensive and independent review of thousands of diocesan records dating back to 1950" from two former FBI agents, who were allowed to review all Chancery files, archival files, priest personnel files and Safe Environment files.   

In a letter regarding the release, Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D. Bishop of Covington, wrote:

"There are no words to adequately express the sorrow and shame I feel in presenting to you the report of those priests, deacons, consecrated religious and laity who have had substantiated accusations against them of the sexual abuse of minors in the Diocese of Covington.

I sincerely hope that this report will bring at least some sense of closure to those whose lives have been forever changed by the egregious behavior of those who were pledged to care for God’s little ones.

At the same time I understand that releasing a report of this kind may cause additional pain and anger in those who have personally experienced sexual abuse as a child. For that, I am deeply sorry.

I can never apologize enough to those who have been harmed by any representative of the Church. I beg your forgiveness in the name of the Church. I give you my assurance that, to the best of my knowledge, there is no priest in public ministry in the Diocese of Covington who has abused a minor."

There are 59 priests on the list, including four still living in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area:

  • John Wiley Goeke, who is currently living in Covington, according to the Diocese. Goeke was ordained in 1959 and last served in Ministry to Inner City for the Diocese of Covington in 1991 before being suspended in 1994 and receiving a charter suspension in 2002.
  • Thomas Victor Lloyd, who is currently living in Cincinnati. He was ordained in 1981 and last served as an assistant at Blessed Sacrament in Fort Mitchell. He was suspended in 1993.
  • George Joseph Schumacher, who is currently living in Covington. He was ordained in 1965 and last served as a pastor at St. Joseph in Warsaw, Kentucky in 1995 before a charter suspension in 2002.
  • Joseph Nicholas Muench, who is currently living in Independence. He was ordained in 1981 and served as a pastor at St. Martha in Prestonburg, Kentucky in 1986 and was incardinated into the Diocese of Lexington in 1988 before being suspended in 2009.

There are also six brothers, five nuns and 20 lay people/deacons.

The full list of individuals with substantiated allegations against them is available at covdio.org.

In a statement about the allegations and abuse file review, it is noted that "Inclusion on this list does not necessarily indicate that an accused priest, religious, deacon or lay employee has been found guilty of a crime or liable for any civil claim."

The definition of “substantiated allegation” is listed as:

An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is deemed substantiated when there is probable cause for believing the claim is true. The following may be considered as evidence of probable cause:

  • admission of guilt by the accused;
  • guilty finding rendered by a court;
  • finding rendered by an investigative process shows cause for believing the allegation is true on an objective basis;
  • the accused, when presented with the allegation and afforded a reasonable opportunity to respond, declined to address the allegation; or
  • the Special Masters appointed by the Court in the class action litigation against the Diocese made a monetary award from the class settlement fund based on a sworn claim form alleging one or more incidents of sexual abuse of a minor by the accused, and any other evidence that was submitted on behalf of the claimant.

After a 2003 class action lawsuit was brought against the Diocese of Covington on behalf of all those who had been sexually abused, a settlement of $81,231,500 was reached to pay out 252 claims — 400 were filed, but 148 were denied "as not sufficiently credible to support an award," says the diocese website. 

In 2009, the court found “the Diocese of Covington and Bishop Foys have fulfilled all of their obligations under their settlement agreement with the Doe Class and this Court’s orders regarding the class settlement and its administration.”  

If you have been abused or suffered sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy, an employee or a volunteer of the Diocese of Covington, you can contact Margaret Schack, the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 859-392-1515. The Diocese says, "Professional assistance and pastoral support will be provided with confidentiality and respect. The Victim Assistance Coordinator is required to report allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to civil authorities."

You can also report the current abuse of minors or vulnerable adults to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Division of Protection and Permanency at 877-597-2331. (County-specific numbers are available at covdio.org.)

If you are an adult who was abused as a minor, there is a list of Commonwealth attorneys available at covdio.org.

You can also call the Kentucky Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-752-6200; Ohio Child Abuse Hotline at 1-855-642-4453; Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556; or National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

A list of Kentucky sex offenders is available at kspsor.state.ky.us.