After pleading guilty last March to 50 criminal charges of child sex abuse, a retired priest who had served the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville for over four decades received the maximum prison sentence on Tuesday. Rev. Louis E. Miller, 72, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for abusing 21 children between the ages of 7 and 12. Named in 94 of the 250 lawsuits filed against the archdiocese this last year, Miller, in his testimony last week, acknowledged that three Louisville archbishops knew of his behavior. However, he denied allegations they attempted to cover up problem, reported the Courier-Journal.
The priest sex abuse scandal continues to plague dioceses across the country. The fiscal burden of over $1 million in legal, settlement and counseling costs has prompted the Archdiocese of Louisville to cut jobs by 12 percent, freeze salaries, and reduce its budget by $2 million. Last week, the Diocese of Manchester in New Hampshire reached a $6.4 million settlement, raising that diocese’s total cost to $15.5 million for resolving 176 cases since the abuse scandal broke last year, according to the New York Times. In Boston, results from an annual archdiocesan survey showed a 14 percent drop in Mass attendance to less than 300,000 in a region boasting 2.1 million Catholics. With fundraising campaigns falling embarrassingly short-by about 30 to 50 percent, according to the Boston Globe, many pastors predict the closure of 30 to 40 parishes. Abuse claims-filed by more than 500 people-are expected to cost over $100 million to settle.