Asheville priest pleads guilty in obstruction case
ASHEVILLE — Father John Schneider, the former pastor of St. Eugene Church in Asheville, pleaded guilty June 30 to a misdemeanor in connection with a church worker sexual abuse case. Father Schneider was fined, ordered to perform community service and placed on probation.
The plea is connected to the arrest in May of 2009 of Paul Berrell, the former music minister at St. Eugene. He was charged and later pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with a minor.
In April of this year, Berrell was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Father Schneider originally faced a felony charge of obstruction of justice after he destroyed hundreds of pornographic images from Berrell's home computer. Police said Berrell called Father Schneider from the county jail after his arrest and asked him to delete the files.
Father Schneider was fined $250, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and placed on probation for one year.
He resigned from St. Eugene in June of 2009 and has not been in active ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte since then.
On Monday, he issued the following statement: "After 25 months of my life on hold, I am glad to have a settlement the D.A. agreed to, by pleading to misdemeanor obstruction of justice. Since the court date of June 30, 2011, I have paid the fine and completed the community service hours. The clock continues to click on the year of unsupervised probation."
A civil lawsuit filed by Berrell's victim against the Diocese of Charlotte is still pending.
— David Hains, Diocesan Director of Communication
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy