Archdiocese Suspends St. Dominic Priest Amid Allegations of Sex Abuse 30 Years Ago
He Denies Molesting Two at St. Mark in Catonsville
By John Rivera
December 4, 2002
Baltimore Archdiocese officials have removed a Roman Catholic priest from a Northeast Baltimore parish after he was recently accused of molesting two boys more than 30 years ago.
The Rev. Robert Lentz, 66, who was assigned to St. Dominic Catholic Church in Hamilton, has been accused of sexually abusing two boys in the mid- to late 1960s.
Lentz was confronted with the allegations at a meeting with church officials Monday. Both a civil lawyer and a canon lawyer, who is a specialist in church law, accompanied him.
Lentz denies the allegations, but he has been suspended from serving as a priest and has been forced to move from the rectory while the archdiocese investigates.
The abuse allegedly took place while Lentz was a priest at St. Mark in Catonsville, making him one of six priests from that parish who have been accused of child sexual abuse.
He was assigned to St. Mark from 1964 until 1973. He then worked at Cardinal Gibbons High School from 1973 to 1974 and as director of the Archdiocesan Youth Office from 1976 to 1978.
He later served at St. Augustine in Elkridge, Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe, Prince of Peace in Edgewood, St. Pius X in Rodgers Forge, St. Mark in Fallston and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
"We've talked to numerous individuals, and at this point, two have indicated Father Lentz acted inappropriately with them," said Monsignor Richard Woy, director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
"Our appeal at this point is to ask anyone who has information or has been harmed either by this priest or anyone else who has worked for the church to come forward."
Lentz is the second priest from St. Dominic to face sexual abuse allegations this year. The parish's pastor, the Rev. George B. Loskarn, was removed from ministry in June after a credible allegation surfaced that he sexually abused a teen-age boy during an out-of-state trip in the late 1960s.
Loskarn, when confronted with the allegation, admitted to it, church officials said.
The two men who came forward to accuse Lentz are among 43 people who have contacted the Baltimore Archdiocese in the three months since Cardinal William H. Keeler released the names of 56 priests and brothers who had been credibly accused of child sexual abuse while working or studying here.
The other allegations that have surfaced since September have either involved priests who are now dead or whose names were already published on the September list, said Steve Kearney, a spokesman for Keeler.
The allegations against Lentz were reported to the Baltimore County state's attorney's office, Woy said.
It's unclear whether prosecutors could pursue a case, since the allegations pertain to a time before Maryland had a child abuse law.
"Father Lentz has denied any wrongdoing through his canonical and civil counsel," Woy said. "So we need to continue to investigate the matter and learn whatever we can about what happened."
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