CINCINNATI —Three Cincinnati priests were defrocked Tuesday and WLWT News 5 spoke with the man who took on the Catholic Church to protect a teenage boy.
It was an unpopular choice for Mike Knellinger. It was one that came with a lot of criticism and backlash, but 12 years later, finally some justice.
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A phone call from Knellinger’s son in 2002 sparked the investigation that brought down Father Thomas Kuhn, who was a former principal at Elder High School.
“The thought that was on my mind was that could have been my son,” said Knellinger.
One of Kuhn's victims confided in Knelliger’s son, which led to some of the public indecency charges that he was convicted of two years later.
“He was angry with himself. He had punched himself in the mirror and he was angry because a priest had done some things to him,” Knellinger said.
Knellinger was a coach at Alter High School in Kettering when Kuhn was a pastor at a nearby church.
“After the disclosure was made and what had gone on with my son's friend we called the Montgomery County Sheriff's office," Knellinger said.
It's been a decade since Kuhn was convicted of 11 charges of public indecency and giving alcohol to minors and more than 12 years since he was put on administrative leave.
Now Kuhn is no longer considered a Catholic priest.
Fathers Thomas Feldhaus and Ronald Cooper have also been defrocked after allegations they abused minors.
"…Due process was involved that took as long as it did, just as that happens in civil cases in the United States as well,” Archdiocesan Spokesman Dan Andriacco said.
Knellinger has since left the Catholic faith, but still has hope in the direction the Vatican is moving, holding priests more accountable.
“There is some hope with the Pope. He’s saying the right things, but there's still a long road. There’s a long way to go. There’s a lot of cover up and damage done by his predecessors,” Knellinger said.
The Archdiocese said Tuesday that it encourages anyone who has been abused to come forward.
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr said the archdiocese remains committed to enforcing policies that safeguard children and minister to survivors of abuse.