Grand jury in Missouri indicts former priest on sodomy charges

Frederick Joseph Lutz arrest

A retired Roman Catholic priest from southern Missouri has now been indicted by a grand jury in southeast Missouri’s Stoddard County, for alleged sexual abuse of minors.

The grand jury has indicted 76-year-old Frederick Joseph Lutz on two counts of forcible sodomy and two counts of deviate sexual assault. This is a superseding indictment, which replaces the original charges filed in February in Stoddard County.

The court has granted Lutz’s request for a change of venue, and the case has now been transferred to Cape Girardeau County. Lutz will be arraigned on March 23, before Judge Benjamin Lewis in Jackson.

The alleged crimes happened in 2000 when Fr. Lutz served at St. Joseph Parish in southeast Missouri’s Advance. The town of about 1,300 is southwest of Cape Girardeau.  The investigation continues.

Stoddard County Prosecutor Russell Oliver has said that Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt discovered the allegations in church documents, during the AG’s clergy abuse investigation. Schmitt’s office referred the allegations to Prosecutor Oliver on January 2.

Oliver has encouraged anyone with information about Lutz to call the Stoddard County Prosecutor’s office at (573) 568-4640.

Lutz has also served at parishes in Jackson, Springfield, Cassville and Lamar, according to Oliver.

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(Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Missourinet Cape Girardeau television partner KFVS)

Brian Hauswirth

Brian Hauswirth began as Missourinet news director in July 2016. He anchors daily newscasts, simulcasts and special reports from the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City, where he primarily covers the Missouri House and numerous legislative committee hearings.