May 22, 2006
Inmate Accuses Priest of Sexual Abuse
By Amanda C. Tinnin
St. Louis Post-Dispatch [St. Peters MO]
May 21, 2006
A Florida inmate has filed a lawsuit alleging a St. Peters priest sexually abused him when he was a student at All Saints Catholic School.
Michael K. Orf, 42, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in St. Charles County Circuit Court. In the suit, Orf names the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Pastor Louis Kertz as defendants.
Kertz died of cancer in 1985. He was 62.
Orf is serving a five-year prison sentence at Tomoka Correctional Institute in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was convicted in 2003 for committing sex acts with a teenage girl.
Orf's release date is in September 2007.
At that time, Archdiocese spokesman Tony Huenneke said Orf would be welcome in St. Louis.
"The Archdiocese would certainly welcome the opportunity to meet with him when that becomes possible," Huenneke said.
As for the lawsuit, Huenneke said the Archdiocese had not yet seen the complaint. Regardless, Huenneke said the Archdiocese has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.
In his complaint, Orf alleges that Kertz persuaded him to engage in sexual activities while he was a minor. Orf claims Kertz advised him that if he engaged in the sexual behavior it would help him overcome problems he was having with classmates.
Orf alleges the acts began in 1976, when he was about 13 years old, and continued until 1979.
Huenneke said the Archdiocese had been in contact with Orf.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Orf served the Archdiocese with an "intent to sue" letter.
Revered Monsignor Richard F. Stika responded to Orf.
"The Archdiocese takes every allegation of abuse seriously and I would very much like the opportunity to put you in contact with our Assistance Coordinator," Stika wrote in a letter dated March 23 to Orf.
Stika acknowledged in his letter the Archdiocese had received letters from Orf containing allegations of sexual abuse.
"When you have been released from custody, I would also like to invite you to meet with members of our Gennesaret Committee," Stika added. The Gennesaret Committee assists the Archbishop in responding to allegations of sexual abuse.
Kertz has been accused of sexual abuse in a separate law suit.
An alleged victim using the pseudonym Matt Doe filed in August a suit in St. Louis Circuit Court alleging the priest sexually abused him when he was a student at All Saints school in 1981.
The petition states Fr. Kertz sexually abused the former student by placing his hand on the boy's penis.
Kertz was not named as a defendant in the Matt Doe suit, however, the petition submitted by the plaintiff names Kertz as the alleged abuser.
The trial in that suit is pending.
Amanda C. Tinnin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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