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No charges against Fr. Schemm due to statute of limitations

Father Michael Schemm
Father Michael Schemm
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 1:28 PM CST
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***Correction: We inaccurately reported that Fr.. Michael Schemm had been charged with sexual exploitation of a child. No charges were ever filed in this case. The story below has since been updated to reflect that correction.

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: The Catholic Diocese of Wichita issued a statement in response to the Sedgwick County District Attorney not filing charges against Fr.. Michael Schemm, accused of sexual exploitation of a child between 1993 and 1996.

“In accordance with our protocols, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita notified law enforcement of the allegation made and cooperated in its investigation,” the Diocese’s statement read. “It is the Diocese’s understanding that law enforcement completed its investigation and closed the case based on the nature of the allegation and the applicable statute of limitations. The Diocese is currently finishing its own investigation, which will likely be completed in the near future.”

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita confirmed once it finishes its own investigation into the allegations, that will determine Fr. Schemm’s role in the church moving forward.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett announced Wednesday afternoon that he would not be filing charges against Fr.. Michael Schemm because the statute of limitations has expired. Schemm had been accused of sexual exploitation of a child for allegations to have reportedly occurred between 1993 and 1996. Fr.. Schemm was serving at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Wichita during those years.

Last November, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita announced that Bishop Carl Kemme was placing Schemm on administrative leave following a report made to the diocese on behalf of an alleged victim. Prior to placing Fr.. Schemm on leave, the diocese forwarded the allegations to the Office of the District Attorney. The Office of the District Attorney forwarded the matter for investigation to the Exploited and Missing Child Unit.

During the years of the alleged crimes, the reported victim would have been between 12 and 15 years of age and would now be 40 years old. The statute of limitations expired in 2009 when the alleged victim turned 28. Bennett’s office said this was a legal conclusion only and was making “no commentary or conclusions” on the allegations themselves.

In 1994, the Kansas legislature amended the five-year statute of limitations set forth in K.S.A. 21-3106 (the statute prior to 2011 when it was changed to K.S.A. 21-5107) to allow the statute to be “tolled” (not counted) if certain factors existed in certain crimes where the victim was under the age of 15. However, the legislative change made clear that “in no event” could a crime be charged after the victim turned “28 years of age.” These changes went into effect July 1, 1994.

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