January 15, 2005
Covington diocese settles sex-abuse lawsuit
January 15, 2005 [AP]
LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington has reached a settlement with a Lexington woman who sued over alleged sexual abuse. Kay Montgomery said she was molested by a priest in the 1960s. She declined to disclose the amount of the settlement.
"The case was never about money," Montgomery's attorney, Al Grasch, said. "The case was about finding out about what the church knew and what they did to conceal it."
Edward Fritsch was the priest identified in Montgomery's lawsuit, but he was not named as a defendant. Fritsch was sent by the Covington Diocese in 1966 to the Owensboro Diocese, where he was assigned to teach at Owensboro Catholic High School. Montgomery said he abused her when she was a ninth-grade student there.
Montgomery refused to agree to a settlement that required her to keep details of the case confidential.
Fritsch was assigned to St. William Church in Lancaster after being ordained in 1965.
Soon after, Fritsch's supervisor, Father Ralph Beiting, wrote in a letter that he had discovered that Fritsch had had "contact with about nine to ten girls." The letter was filed as part of the case.
Fritsch was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Louisville for four months of treatment.
Upon Fritsch's discharge in December 1965, Dr. James Wygal wrote that Fritsch had "tried to become involved with student nurses and some female patients." Wygal recommended that Fritsch be removed from the priesthood "if any more acute episodes occur."
In January 1966, court records show, Fritsch was assigned to a church in Fort Mitchell, but by June of that year he was removed and later suspended after a married woman said he took "sexual liberties" with her.
Fritsch was sent to the Owensboro Diocese after that. Later, after Montgomery transferred to the Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Ind., she said Fritsch continued the abuse.
Every week, she said, he would come to the school and pick her up, drive her off campus and sexually molest her. She said Fritsch told her that her family would be excommunicated if she told.
Fritsch was removed from duty in 1967, when a Northern Kentucky woman said she was pregnant with his child, according to documents in the case.
He left the priesthood and married in 1969.
Posted by Nancy at January 15, 2005 04:47 AM