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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Priest Pleads Guilty To Transportation Of Child Pornography

Jesuit Priest Richard James Kurtz, 69, formerly of Clarkston, Michigan, pleaded guilty today to transportation of child pornography, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

Kurtz admitted that in 2011 he transported child pornography from his home in Clarkston, Michigan to a new residence in Chicago, Illinois.  Just after his move to Chicago, Kurtz was arrested for “sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust” based on an arrest warrant issued out of Douglas County, Colorado.   After Kurtz’s arrest in Chicago, two Jesuit priests discovered evidence of child pornography crimes among Kurtz’s belongings in Chicago, as well at Kurtz’s former residence in Clarkston, Michigan.  The Jesuits provided that evidence to the FBI.  At the plea hearing today, Kurtz acknowledged that his collection of child pornography exceeded 2,300 images.

Beyond his transportation of child pornography, court records indicated that Kurtz surreptitiously videotaped UDJHS hockey players after games during the 1998-1999 hockey season.  Kurtz was a teacher of chemistry at the UDJHS from 1970-1973, 1978-1983, and from September 1984-May 2001.

Kurtz entered into a plea agreement that calls for a sentence of between 10-14 years in custody.  District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith accepted Kurtz’s guilty plea, and took the proposed plea agreement under advisement.   Sentencing is set for July 14, 2015.

McQuade  praised  the  work  of  the  FBI  agents  for  their  professionalism  and dedication in their thorough investigation of these cases.

Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin M. Mulcahy is prosecuting this case for the United States.

Updated March 19, 2015