OH--Victims prod Cleveland bishop over child porn priest

For immediate release: Thursday, July 16

Statement by David Clohessy, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A priest who worked in Cleveland has been sentenced to prison on unrelated child pornography crimes. We now hope law enforcement officials will pursue charges against any clerics who helped him conceal his crimes.

From 1983-1984, Fr. Richard James Kurtz taught at Gesu school, with 600+ students, at 450 Miramar Blvd in University Heights (216-932-0620). But he will spend 12 years behind bars.


In 2011, Fr. Kurtz was arrested in Chicago on charges that he sexually assaulted a boy age 10 in 2001 outside Denver. The following year, he pled guilty.

Then in September 2014, he was arrested on the child porn charges. They involved boys in Detroit where Fr. Kurtz, a Jesuit, taught school. He pled guilty in February.

This week in Detroit, he was sentenced for those crimes. He was already on the sex offender registry in Missouri, where he had been quietly sent to live in a Catholic facility.


We believe Fr. Kurtz is dangerous and apt to repeat his crimes. He should not be given a chance to hurt another child. Our view isn’t punitive. It’s preventative.

We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups by Fr. Kurtz or cover ups by his church colleagues - in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan or Missouri - will speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers and protect kids. We also hope that they get help and start recovering.

We’d urge them, however, to call secular authorities and sources of help, not church sources.

And we urge Cleveland Catholic officials – especially Bishop Richard Lennon – to aggressively seek out others who may have been hurt by Fr. Kurtz. Lennon should use church websites, parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to find and help others who may still be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.

NOTE – Fr. Kurtz’ photo and work history are here: http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Kurtz_Richard_James_sj.htm

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

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