The Gruesome Crimes Of Hans Schmidt, The Only Catholic Priest Ever Executed In US History

Published April 22, 2016
Updated November 1, 2017

Hans Schmidt illegally married, impregnated, and then brutally murdered and dismembered his mistress. For that crime, he was eventually executed via electrocution, and to this day is the only Catholic priest ever executed in the United States. Turns out, the murder he was caught for was only the tip of the iceberg.

Hans Schmidt Photograph

A portrait of Hans Schmidt, the only Catholic priest to ever be executed in the United States, circa 1910. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Long before The Boston Globe shined a spotlight on an endemic pattern of child molestation in the Catholic Church, the wrongdoings of the clergy often went unnoticed or unpunished.

Except for Hans Schmidt. In the early 1900s, he became the first, and only, priest to be executed in the United States.

His acts were bloody, his list of crimes was long, and his entire tale was laid out for the public by a press eager to show that even trusted religious leaders are capable of being monsters.

Nickolaus Hines
Nickolaus Hines is a freelance writer in New York City. He graduated from Auburn University, and his recent bylines can be found at Men's Journal, Inverse, and Grape Collective.