Sins of My Father
Riley Kinn thought he was handling it.
Nevermind the drinking, the substance abuse, the difficulty in interpersonal relationships that had intermittently plagued him since he was a teenager.
He’d been to therapy. He thought he’d managed to push down and push away the months of grooming and abuse by the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer, predatory behavior that he says culminated in sexual assault in the rectory of St. Wendelin Parish in 1980.
Then came 2015. Mr. Kinn took a new client for his information technology business — his childhood parish in Fostoria.
Once on site to run new wires for the internet and phone systems, he found himself drawn to the rectory bedroom. The memories flooded back. So did a fierce panic attack. He fled to his truck and took off.
Mr. Kinn, 51, is speaking publicly about his allegations for the first time. That decision, after nearly 40 years of silence, comes as he’s struggled to understand why the Diocese of Toledo, where he reported the abuse last year, found his claims not substantiated, despite two other previous credible accusations that led to Father Schmelzer’s permanent removal from public ministry in 2007.
© Andy Morrison Photography