Priest Who Faced Lawsuit over Alleged Abuse Talks to Parishioners

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 7, 2002

A priest who faced allegations that he raped a 12-year-old altar boy in 1984 spoke to his parishioners this weekend about the claims.

"I have consistently maintained for 13 years that I am innocent," the Rev. Carl Peltz said Saturday during services at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in nearby Parchment.

"I have suffered and my family has suffered because of this," he added. "I would never want anything to happen to any of our children. ... I would never act out in such a brutal way to a child."

Peltz drew applause from those at the church during his remarks and received a standing ovation from the congregation when he finished speaking.

The remarks from Peltz came a day after a press conference in which Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo officials defended him, saying claims that Peltz abused an altar boy are false.

The abuse allegation was contained in a lawsuit filed in 1991 by the Grand Haven man and his parents. The $5 million suit in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, was settled by the Diocese of Steubenville for $25,000.

The allegations surfaced in a special ABC News report Wednesday night on the topic of sexual abuse and the priesthood. Although the network didn't name the priest, it referred to him as living and working in the Kalamazoo diocese.

The alleged abuse occurred when the boy, now 29 and living in Grand Haven, was growing up on a U.S. Navy base in Keflavik, Iceland.

Church officials say Naval records show that Peltz, who was serving as a chaplain at the base, was not in Iceland at the time specified in the lawsuit.

The alleged victim's family contends they made a mistake on naming the date, given that the incident occurred several years before the suit was filed.

The alleged victim and his father have said they are troubled that the priest has been allowed to serve churches and be around children all of these years.


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