Jesuit Arrested on Sex Assault Charges in Colo.

Chicago Tribune
November 21, 2011,0,2157222.story

A Jesuit priest in Chicago was arrested Monday on allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor 10 years ago in Colorado, the Douglas County sheriff's office said.

The Rev. Richard James Kurtz, 67, was being held on $100,000 bond in Chicago on charges of sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust and attempted sexual assault, sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Ron Hanavan said.

Authorities allege that the 2001 assault happened in Douglas County, an area south of Denver that is home to both suburban communities and rural areas. At the time, Kurtz was working as a chemistry teacher at the University of Detroit High School in Detroit.

Hanavan said Kurtz and the alleged male victim, who was under 18, knew each other, but he couldn't say where the victim was from or what they were doing in Colorado because the case is sealed. He said there's no connection with any Colorado church.

The investigation began after the Society of Jesus Chicago-Detroit Province notified the sheriff's office in June about the alleged assault, Hanavan said. An arrest warrant was issued Friday.

The province said in a written statement Monday that in 2001, when a report of misconduct first surfaced, it reported the allegation to authorities in Michigan.

The province also has a policy under which it reports abuse allegations to authorities in the place where the conduct is said to have occurred. The province said it has been cooperating with Colorado authorities since April. It wasn't immediately clear why the report was only made this year.

Kurtz was removed from public ministry soon after the initial allegation was received, the province said. The Jesuits said Kurtz's activities have been restricted since then. It didn't say where Kurtz was working at the time of his arrest.

The case has been turned over to prosecutors who will decide whether to charge Kurtz.


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