Attorney General’s Priest Abuse Probe Yields First Charges

Riverfront Times

February 21, 2020

By Danny Wicentowski

He was “Priest 80,” but after a Missouri prosecutor filed criminal charges alleging sexual assault, that unnamed priest was revealed this week to be Frederick Lutz. Until now, the retired priest living in Springfield had been identified only by a number in a report issued last year by the Missouri Attorney General — just one among 163 cases of reported priest abuse.

On Thursday, Lutz, 76, pleaded not guilty in the Circuit Court of Stoddard County. He’s currently in custody on a $125,000 bond, charged with two counts of statutory sodomy, one count of sexual abuse and one count of forcible sodomy.

According to the probable cause statement, all four charges involve the same then-seventeen-year-old victim; He told investigators that the abuse occurred in 2000 while Lutz was a priest in a parish southeast Missouri.

The fact that Lutz is even facing charges is notable, considering the fact that the allegations against him were known for years to Catholic officials and recorded in the church’s personnel files.

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