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  Sued Priest Had Resigned from Diocese Bishop D'Arcy Would Not Say When His Office Learned of the Sexual Abuse Allegations

By Andrea Muirragui Davis
The News-Sentinel
April 7, 1994

The Fort Wayne priest accused of sexually battering a boy about 10 years ago resigned from his position with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend last month, Bishop John M. D'Arcy said yesterday.

In a written statement, he said the Rev. Richard Stieglitz resigned on Feb. 7. Stieglitz retains his holy orders, which means he is a priest, although an unaffiliated one. Stieglitz and the diocese are named as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed Monday by Matthew W. Murray, of Belton, Mo. Murray was a student at St. Jude Catholic School and a parishioner at the church when Stieglitz was a priest there in the early 1980s.

The lawsuit alleges that Stieglitz, "with intent to satisfy his sexual urges," committed battery upon Murray in a sauna at the Canterbury Green Apartments clubhouse. Murray and another student were in the sauna at Stieglitz's invitation, the lawsuit said, after the threesome played racquetball at the clubhouse.

Murray's lawsuit names the diocese as co-defendant because it allegedly "failed to exert reasonable care in the hiring, supervision and retention" of Stieglitz, court records show.

D'Arcy's statement said that when allegations of sexual abuse are made, "the pastoral care of everyone concerned" is "central to the policies of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend."

When the allegations were brought to the diocese's attention, professional assistance was offered to Murray and Stieglitz received a residential professional evaluation, the statement said. Church officials would not say whether Murray accepted the offer for assistance.

D'Arcy would not say when the diocese was notified of the allegations, referring questions to diocese lawyer Scott Hall, who refused to comment.

Neither Stieglitz, Murray nor Murray's Fort Wayne lawyer, John B. Powell, were available for comment yesterday afternoon.

In mid-September, Bishop John D'Arcy asked Stieglitz to resign from his post at Queen of Angels Catholic Church because of their differences in opinion regarding the priest's 1992 adoption of four young men from Haiti.



 
 

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