Supreme Court to Hear Appeal about Priest

Dayton Daily News
September 9, 2005

Editor's note: The Dayton Daily News incorrectly reported Thursday that the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling dismissing sexual abuse accusations against a former Dayton-area priest. The story was based on an early, erroneous wire report that was not updated by the newspaper prior to publication. This is the corrected version.

The Ohio Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that dismissed sexual abuse allegations against a former Kettering priest.

"Now all victims will officially get their day in the highest court in Ohio," Konrad Kircher, a Mason attorney representing 66 purported victims of childhood sexual abuse by priests, said Thursday. "It's a recognition of the Supreme Court of the significance of the issues involved."

The Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals in December ruled that the statute of limitations had expired on allegations of sexual abuse between 1961 and 1987 and racketeering.

In a 2003 lawsuit, a former altar boy accused Roman Catholic priest Lawrence Strittmatter of repeatedly molesting him and sometimes forcing his way into the boy's home. Strittmatter was accused of abusing boys over three decades.

Strittmatter was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, along with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk.

Strittmatter was placed on administrative leave in 2002 and is not permitted to perform any duties of a priest, said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the arcdiocese. The Vatican will consider his case, a process that could take years, he said.

The archdiocese assigned Strittmatter, now 72, to be associate pastor of St. Albert the Great Church in Kettering in 1988 after he was removed from a Cincinnati church because of a substantiated abuse allegation.