Suit: Priest Molested Students

By Roy Wood
Cincinnati Post [Cincinnati OH]
Downloaded May 22, 2003

A Catholic priest molested dozens of students while he served as principal of Elder High School, a $4 million lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, alleges the Rev. Lawrence Strittmatter molested "several dozen" boys while he was principal at the west side boys school from 1970 until 1982.

Mason attorney Konrad Kircher filed the suit on behalf of four men who were not identified in the suit to protect their privacy. He is seeking $1 million for each plaintiff in damages.

The suit named Strittmatter, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk as defendants.

"The key thing is that the archdiocese knew at the latest by 1988 and did nothing," Kircher said. "From that time on, they did absolutely nothing to identify victims or help victims."

As a result, his clients lived from the late 70s and early 1980s with guilt, depression and helplessness that resulted from the situation, Kircher said.

"If the archdiocese had reached out, it would have saved them at least 14 years of suffering."

The church had a duty to protect his clients, he said.

Neither archdiocese officials nor Strittmatter could be reached for comment this morning.

Kircher said his clients have had contact with the archdiocese, but "have been extremely disappointed."

"The archdiocese just doesn't get it," Kircher said, claiming that the church has been unwilling to help his clients in any substantial way.

Strittmatter was transferred from Elder after a student complained about abuse in 1988.

He was placed on administrative leave from his post at St. Albert the Great in Kettering in 2002 amid new allegations of abuse. He later retired.


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