Columbus priest placed on administrative leave after accusation of sexual abuse

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus priest has been placed on administrative leave after an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor.

According to the Diocese of Columbus, an accusation was made against Father Kevin Lutz, 69. The incident allegedly occurred during his time at St. Christopher Parish in the Grandview area from 1982-1986.

Lutz announced his retirement from the ministry at St. Mary Parish in German Village, effective September 8. The diocese received the accusation the next day.

According to the diocese:

The same day, Diocesan officials had the allegation reported to Columbus Police and notified Father Lutz of the allegation.  On September 11, the details of the allegation were reviewed with Father Lutz, he was formally placed on leave, and he was advised about the steps the Church would follow as a result of the allegation.

The diocese says the placement on administrative leave is not an indication that it has determined the allegation is credible. The investigation into the accusation has just begun.

Priests on administrative leave are prohibited from the public exercise of their priestly ministry. They cannot publicly celebrate sacraments, wear clerical attire, be housed at any parish or on diocesan property, or identify themselves as a member of the clergy. 

Father Lutz has been a priest in the Diocese of Columbus since 1978. 

His assignments have included: 

  • Diaconate, St. Matthew Parish, Gahanna (1978)
  • Associate Pastor, St. Agatha Parish, Columbus (1978-1982)
  • Teacher, Bishop Hartley High School, Columbus (1978
  • Teacher, Bishop Watterson High School, Columbus (1978-82)
  • Associate Pastor, St. Mary Parish, Marion (1982-1983
  • Associate Pastor, St. Christopher Parish, Columbus (1983-1986)
  • Associate Pastor, St. Mary Parish, Lancaster (1986-1988)
  • Administrator pro-tem, Sacred Heart Parish, New Philadelphia (1988)
  • Associate Pastor, St. Pius X Parish, Reynoldsburg (1988-1989)
  • Associate Pastor, Christ the King Parish, Columbus (1989-1991)
  • Pastor, St. Joseph Parish, Plain City and Sacred Heart Mission, Milford (1991-1997)
  • Pastor, Holy Family Parish, Columbus (1997-2013)
  • Pastor; St. Mary, Corpus Christi, and St. Ladislas parishes, Columbus (2013-17
  • Pastor, St. Mary Parish, Columbus (2017-2019)

Carol Zamonski, who works with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said it’s likely there are other survivors.

“What we know is that person must have been in pain that whole time and we also know that, statistically, there must be other survivors of this abuser,” Zamonski said.

Zamonski said it’s possible the victim was waiting for the right time to come forward. But, she added, the timing of the retirement immediately followed by the announcement from the diocese makes her suspicious.

“Maybe the diocese hasn’t been as forthcoming as it should have been,” Zamonski said. “They like to retire people before they accuse them. It happens over and over and over again in different dioceses, so it looks like a pattern.”

The diocese asks anyone who may have claims of abuse by clergy or others associated with the Church to notify law enforcement immediately and also the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at 614-224-2251, 866-448-0217, or helpisavailable@columbuscatholic.org.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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