Fr. Ronald Domhoff is not known outside the Archdiocese of Louisville, but he should be known by every Catholic, and non-Catholic, in the nation. He is the latest priest to have his good name dragged through the mud by vicious accusers and their rapacious lawyers. That the latter proved to be rogues should matter to everyone.
In September, Fr. Domhoff was placed on administrative leave after he was accused of sexually molesting a minor. He was cleared of all charges yesterday and returned to active ministry today as pastor at St. Peter the Apostle in Louisville. What happened in the interim is the real story.
The accuser said he was molested between 1985 and 1989 at a local Catholic high school. The priest was investigated and subsequently cleared by the Louisville Metro Police Department Crimes Against Children unit. The archdiocese conducted two investigations: one by the Sexual Abuse Review Board and one by a private investigator. Both exonerated the priest.
Here is what the Valencia, California law firm of Owen, Patterson and Owen said when Fr. Domhoff was charged: “Our client is willing to share details of his abuse with the press in order to encourage other victims to come forward.” Attorney Gregory Owen added, “These monsters must be found and punished.” The law firm asked other alleged victims to contact them, not the police.
As it turns out, the monsters who should be punished are these lawyers. The Archdiocese of Louisville contacted the accuser asking him to provide the details that his lawyers promised, and neither he nor his attorneys provided a scintilla of evidence.
Fr. Domhoff told his parishioners yesterday that “The last few months have been the most terrifying experience of my 42 years as a priest.” He thanked his supporters profusely. We wish him a Merry Christmas and encourage all falsely accused priests to fight the merchants of greed and hate.