Mr. Lewis Kocher
Diocese of Erie
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Mr. Lewis Kocher:
According to media reports, in April 2019, Mr. Lewis Kocher, a former choir director, was included in the Diocese of Erie’s list of lay people associated with the church who have been credibly accused of actions that, in the diocese’s judgment, disqualify that person from working with children. These actions range from the corruption of minors to direct physical sexual abuse or sexual assault of minors.
The Diocese of Erie has not released any information about the allegation(s) against Kocher, including the age/gender of his victim(s), the number of the allegation(s) made against him, or the misconduct he is alleged to have committed. Kocher wrote a few pieces of music that he dedicated to Sacred Heart School and the Gannon University Flute Choirs, in Erie, Pennsylvania. As a music teacher, Kocher taught both privately and at the D’Angelo Conservatory of Music and Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa.
In February 2021, Kocher was arrested and convicted of indecent assault on a minor from an incident that occurred in 2020. In April 2021, Kocher was listed on the Pennsylvania List of Sex Offenders. According to the list, it states that Kocher’s primary offense was defined as:
A person is guilty of indecent assault if the person has indecent contact with the complainant, causes the complainant to have indecent contact with the person, or intentionally causes the complainant to come into contact with seminal fluid, urine or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in the person or the complainant and
- The person does so without the complainant’s consent;
- The person does so by forcible compulsion;
- The person does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution;
- The complainant is unconscious or the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the indecent contact is occurring;
- The person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants, or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;
- The complainant suffers from a mental disability that renders the complainant incapable of consent;
- The complainant is less than 13 years of age; or
- The complainant is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.
In Fall 2017, Kocher briefly worked as a music director at Hudson Presbyterian Church in Hudson, Ohio. Prior to that, Kocher lived in Chautauqua County, NY, and worked at multiple churches at the Chautauqua Institution, where he introduced his Celtic Vespers services.
Kocher is currently living in Springfield, Ohio, according to the Diocese of Erie. According to his personal website, Kocher also offers music lessons to beginner, intermediate, and advanced piano students.
The Diocese of Erie has no control over his contact with children at any other location outside of the Catholic parishes and schools of the Diocese of Erie.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Erie may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.