The former pastor of Lexington's Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary parish entered an Alford plea to amended charges in a sexual abuse case and will be sentenced in May, according to Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland.
The Rev. Joseph Muench entered the plea Thursday in Franklin Circuit Court to amended charges of first-degree unlawful imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit sexual abuse in the first degree, Cleveland said Sunday night. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but it acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction.
In July, Muench was suspended from ministerial duties after an internal investigation by the Diocese of Lexington, prompted by a letter from a Louisville attorney representing three men who made allegations against Muench. The diocese forwarded its findings in a letter to the Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney.
According to statements by the diocese, the case concerns incidents alleged to have occurred in the 1980s while Muench was associate pastor of Good Shepherd parish in Frankfort. Muench was associate pastor there from 1984 to 1986, when the parish was part of the Diocese of Covington.
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According to The State Journal of Frankfort, Muench originally faced two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.