Sunday, December 7, 2003

Sex-offender priest found dead of blunt-force trauma

The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Lexington police are investigating a homicide at the home of a 78-year-old retired Catholic priest and convicted sex offender.

Joseph Pilger was found dead in his home Friday night. An autopsy Saturday found the cause of death to be multiple blunt-force injuries, the Fayette County coroner's office reported.

No arrests have been made. Pilger's landlord discovered his body after repeatedly trying to contact him, police said.

Pilger had lived alone, except for the past month, when a young man began staying with him, Pilger's neighbor, Karen Owens, told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Owens said Pilger's car was missing Friday night.

Pilger pleaded guilty to sexual abuse in 1995 for abusing three brothers and their cousin in 1968 and 1969. He was their pastor in Morganfield, Ky.

Pilger received five years' probation beginning in January 1995.

Earlier this year, Pilger was named in a sex-abuse lawsuit. Daniel Willett of Florida claimed he was abused by Pilger in 1962 at St. Paul's School in Lexington.

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