Wichita-area priest placed on leave, accused of sexually abusing minor

Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 6:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Catholic Diocese of Wichita on Monday, Nov. 1 announced that Bishop Carl Kemme placed a priest on administrative leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Wichita diocese identified that priest as Fr. Michael Schemm with Church of the Resurrection, in Bel Aire.

“The bishop’s decision comes after an initial review by the Diocesan Review Board, which recommended administrative leave pending the completion of a full investigation,” the diocese said.

The Wichita diocese said it notified police and pending the investigation, “Fr. Schemm will maintain his faculties as a priest and the diocese will continue its support.”

“However, Fr. Schemm will be restricted from offering sacraments and preaching in the Catholic Diocese of Wichita until the investigation has been completed.” the diocese said.

Eyewitness News learned Fr. Schemm, the priest at the Church of the Resurrection since 2018, is on leave because of allegations dating back two more than 25 years. The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office said last Tuesday, Oct. 26, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita notified the office of the allegations against Fr. Schemm. The matter was referred from the DA’s office to the Exploited and Missing Child Unit (EMCU).

Fr. Schemm started his service with the Catholic Diocese of Wichita in 1993 as an assistant pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. He was there for three years before going to Parsons in southeast Kansas to become the pastor at St. Patrick Catholic Church. He then served at Christ the King in Wichita, followed by St. James in Augusta from 2007 to 2018.

The diocese addressed the severity of abuse allegations and in part of its statement released Monday, encouraged people to come forward.

“[Bishop Kemme] continues his commitment to you, the faithful of our diocese, that every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against a bishop, priest, religious or member of the laity representing the church will be addressed professionally, transparently and thoroughly according to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, so that justice will be served and that victims will find healing,” the diocese said. “Anyone who suspects such abuse, inappropriate behavior or has been harmed by any person who has worked or volunteered for the diocese, is encouraged to contact the diocesan victim’s assistance coordinator at 316- 440-1757 or CatholicDioceseofWichita.org/promise-to-protect. Both abuse and its cover-up by bishops, priests, religious and anyone representing the Church can never be tolerated. Let us keep each other in prayer during this time.”

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