CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – A Jesuit priest is in an Illinois jail awaiting extradition to Colorado on charges he sexually assaulted a child in Douglas County.

Douglas County’s investigation into Rev. Richard James Kurtz, 67, started in June, but the allegations go back several years.

This year church officials with the Society of Jesus Chicago-Detroit Province notified Douglas County investigators of the crime they say happened 10 years ago.

FBI agents took Kurtz into custody in his hometown of Chicago on Monday.

Kurtz was working at a Detroit high school as a chemistry teacher at the time of the alleged crime, but he and the alleged victim — a male under 18 — were both in Douglas County when the alleged assault happened.

“We’re not discussing the exact relationship other than to say the two individuals were known to each other,” Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ron Hanavan said.

The misconduct allegations surfaced in 2001 and Kurtz was removed from public ministry but he continued to serve the church with restricted duties. The province said it reported the allegation of the crime at the time to authorities in Michigan.

“Little boys don’t make up stories like that,” said Jeb Barrett with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Barrett says he was raped by a priest when he was 17. He says he held the guilt and shame for decades before finally informing police.

“There’s a real responsibility for those of us who have the courage to say something — to speak up and say ‘Hey, let’s start protecting our kids,’ ” Barrett said.

It’s not clear at this point why Colorado authorities didn’t learn about the case until this year.

Kurtz is charged with sexual assault of a child by one in a position of trust, a Class 4 felony, and two counts of attempted sexual assault of a child by one in a position of trust.

Comments (3)
  1. Jennifer says:

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  2. JMS says:

    Unfortunately, Mr. Barrett little boys do make up stories like that. I am not saying that happened in this case. Case in point – the fabricated allegation against the Archbishop of Chicago years ago. Many cases arise decades later because the person recovered a repressed memory. Repressed memories are controversial and not accepted scientific fact. Of course, my heart goes out to real victims.

  3. Judy Jones says:

    This victim is to be commended for speaking up and taking action to expose the truth.

    Hopefully others who may have knowledge or been harmed by Father Richard Kurtz will have the courage to speak up and report it to police, not church officials. Crimes against kids, however old, should be investigated by the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church offices.

    Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.

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