Saturday, March 12, 2011

Accused priest Emerson files for bankruptcy protection
Christin Nance Lazerus Mar 12, 2011 02:02AM
12-03-08 - 70 W. Madison, 53rd floor, Chicago - Copy photo of Fr. Richard A. Emerson, who is accused of sexually abusing children during his ministry - Emerson is being sued for abusing an 11 year-old boy in 2004. - John J. Kim ~ Sun-Times
A former Diocese of Gary priest, who has been accused of molesting boys in a handful of civil lawsuits, filed for bankruptcy last month.

Richard Emerson’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition was filed on Feb. 28 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

In the filing, he lists five pending civil cases to which he is a party, based on accusations from his time as a priest in Northwest Indiana and Orlando, Fla. Victims have alleged that Emerson fondled them sexually and watched pornographic videos with them.

The filing lists Emerson’s street address in Temple, Ga., but his mailing address is in Las Vegas.

Emerson, a Hammond native, was ordained in 1978 in the Diocese of Gary. He became pastor of Michigan City’s Notre Dame parish in July 2003.

Emerson’s career has included stays at Hammond’s Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Schererville’s Hoosier Boys Town, Munster’s St. Thomas More and parishes in East Chicago and LaPorte. From 1986 to 1991 Emerson served in Orlando, Fla.

Diocese of Gary officials began an internal investigation of Emerson in 2004, and he was allowed to continue his pastoral duties, but when the allegations were termed “credible,” he was suspended. Emerson requested to be stripped of the priesthood in 2006.

In the filing, Emerson lists his assets as a $2,000 checking account, computer, various books, CDs and DVDs, clothes, a Glock .40-caliber handgun and $36,430 in a retirement fund.

He lists $53,184 in assets and $53,713 in liabilities. He claims almost $8,000 in credit card debt and at least $15,000 in outstanding legal fees.

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