Ex-NWI priest accused of sex crimes files for bankruptcy

2011-03-13T18:51:00Z 2011-03-14T07:50:04Z Ex-NWI priest accused of sex crimes files for bankruptcyBy Times Staff nwitimes.com
March 13, 2011 6:51 pm  • 

A former Northwest Indiana priest, facing allegations of molesting a local teen in 2003, filed for bankruptcy in Georgia last month.

According to a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing in the Northern District of Georgia, Richard Emerson filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Feb. 24.

He claims his assets are $53,184 and liabilities as $53,713, according to a the bankruptcy filing.

Emerson also claimed in the filing that he worked as an independent contractor until November and is currently unemployed.

Emerson, a former Northwest Indiana priest, also is facing several allegations of child abuse in Indiana and Florida.

A local lawsuit alleged the Catholic priest repeatedly molested a teen in 2003 while working at St. Thomas More Church in Munster. That case is set for a trial in March 2012.

Emerson began working as a priest at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Hammond in 1979. During the 1980s, he became a liaison to the Gary Boy Scouts and an administrator of Hoosier Boy's Town, now known as Campagna Academy in Schererville.

He worked in Orlando, Fla., from 1987 to 1991 and was terminated for "inappropriate attention to two teen sons of a particular family," according to a prior Times report.

A court case filed there accused Emerson of fondling an altar boy at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Orlando.

He returned to Northwest Indiana and worked for the Gary Diocese. When the Orlando Diocese was notified in 2004 of the allegations involving Emerson, they notified police and the Gary Diocese.

Emerson gave up his career in 2006 and the Gary Diocese removed him from the clergy.

Emerson was not available for comment. His last known address is listed in Las Vegas with no phone number.

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