9&10 News Investigates: Betrayal of Trust

9 & 10 TV News

February 27, 2019

By David Lyden and Derrick Larr

A 9&10 News investigation is uncovering new information about a former priest removed from the ministry 17 years ago over a credible claim of sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Father Jim Holtz was permanently removed from ministry back in 2002.

Holtz is one of 10 priests the Diocese of Gaylord says have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct in its nearly 50 year history.

9&10 News was the first to report back in November that the Diocese of Gaylord had released a list of priests credibly accused of misconduct with a minor.

To fully understand this story we have to go back to November, when 9&10 News first started reporting on priests credibly accused of misconduct with minors in the Diocese of Gaylord.

That is when the phone calls and emails started. That name and face strikingly familiar to people around Petoskey including Joni Hosler.

“I was given information about him and I was told ahead of time it was going to rock my world, and it did,” said Hosler.

Joni says her three sons were all altar servers at St. Francis Xavier in Petoskey. She says the man who was in the sacristy with them as they prepared for mass was Jim Holtz.

Joni says her sons told her nothing inappropriate ever happened between them and Holtz, but she says she had no idea about Holtz’s past until recently.

“I’m not saying I’m here to judge anybody, nobody is here to judge anybody, and there are a ton of positions in the parish, somebody with a known background shouldn’t be allowed around children, and I think about the other servers and they’re great families and all I can think of is why, why was it allowed and why are we all hurting now because it was allowed,” said Hosler.

As we worked to answer that question 9&10 News obtained a copy of a letter sent to Gaylord Bishop Steven Raica in January of 2016. It outlines a moment where Holtz appeared got too close for comfort:

‘I witnessed fry Jim Holtz, sacristan, standing behind a freshman male altar server with his arms around the young man and began to attach and tie the cincture for the young man at the young man’s naval from behind’

The letter goes on to say the action by Holtz was seen as possibly suspicious and the writer of the letter is reporting it to the Diocese per diocesan policy. The writer goes on to say:

‘I confronted Fr. Jim by myself in the sacristy after mass regarding the inappropriate nature of this action and he agreed and appeared compliant.’

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.