Panel Clears Priest of Sex-Abuse Charge
The Rev. Carl Peltz, Pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Parchment, Was Accused of a 1985 Assault in Iceland.

Grand Rapid Press
July 25, 2003

Kalamazoo — Local Catholic officials have found no evidence to support a Grand Haven man's claim he was sexually abused several years ago by a priest now serving the Kalamazoo diocese.

The Rev. James Murray, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, said his church's sexual abuse review panel has exonerated the Rev. Carl Peltz, pastor of St. Ambrose Church in Parchment.

"A single act of abuse was claimed to have taken place in 1985 in Iceland," Murray said in a press release issued this week. "The review has concluded that the accusation against Father Peltz was not supported by any credible evidence."

Brent King, a spokesman for the diocese, said Murray's statement was recently read during services at St. Ambrose. Also, the bishop sent out letters to area parishes about the action clearing Peltz from allegedly abusing Chris Toher, now 30, when the priest was serving as a Navy chaplain in Iceland in 1985.

"Father Carl Peltz has been a dedicated and caring priest serving the faithful of the Diocese of Kalamazoo since 1997," Murray said in the statement. "I am grateful for his service and regret the painful process he has had to endure this past year. I am also grateful for the many people who have supported him during this time."

Peltz remains a priest "in good standing of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, and I hope he will enjoy many years of fruitful ministry," said Murray.

Toher, who is married and the father of a daughter, said he appeared before the review board late last year. The board's conclusion doesn't surprise him, he said.

"This is what I figured would happen. I found the whole process offensive. I don't think they ever took me seriously."

King said members of the review board can't talk about their investigation because "they are a confidential body."

Neither Peltz nor his attorney, David Butler, were available for comment on Thursday.


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