|Former O'Gorman Student Sues Diocese
By Josh Verges
February 14, 2008
A former O'Gorman High School student has filed suit against the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese, alleging he was sexually assaulted by a teacher in 1970.
Tom Gust, 53, said his typing teacher, Bob Krantz, assaulted him after school one day and that school officials refused to take action.
Gust left South Dakota in 1972 and now lives in Escalon, Calif. He said he blocked the events from his memory until 2005, when he was surfing the diocese Web site and learned about dozens of abuse allegations.
"I almost had a heart attack right then," he said. "It started coming back."
Krantz later became a priest and serves St. Patrick in Montrose and St. Ann in Humboldt. He said Wednesday that he is aware of the lawsuit but hasn't seen the complaint. He referred questions to the diocese.
Chancellor Jerry Klein said the diocese in 2005 ordered an independent investigation regarding Gust's claims. An internal review followed, and Krantz was allowed to return as pastor in Parkston. Klein said Gust's complaint is the only one brought against Krantz.
According to the complaint, Krantz forced himself on Gust in September 1970 after keeping him after school. It describes in detail Krantz touching Gust and grinding against him in a supply room.
Gust said he went to the Rev. Bill Walsh the next day and described what happened. He said Superintendent Howard Carroll called Gust's parents for a meeting and described him as a troublemaker.
Gust said an unidentified O'Gorman priest later hit him while he sat in his desk, and a second priest lied to his parents about Gust and his friends. Carroll expelled Gust at the end of the school year, the complaint states.
The complaint describes Krantz's habit of massaging male students during typing class. A high school friend of Gust's remembered the touching.
"He came up from behind me while I was typing and just put his hands on my shoulders and chest, rubbed," Dick Hines of Sioux Falls said.
Hines said Gust didn't tell him about the alleged sexual assault while they were in high school but he remembers hearing about it. He said he thought then that Krantz had disciplined Gust, not molested him.
"I think something happened to him - mostly because I remember other students saying something happened," Hines said. "I truly believe that he's telling the truth."
The suit filed Tuesday in federal court in Sioux Falls seeks at least $500,000. Listed as defendants are the diocese, Walsh, who has since left the priesthood, and Bishop Paul Swain. Carroll and former bishop Lambert Hoch, who have both died, are also listed as defendants.
The defendants have 20 days to respond to the complaint.
Reach Josh Verges at 331-2335.
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