September 29, 2014

Priest Charged with Production, Transportation, and Possession of Child Pornography

Richard James Kurtz, 69, formerly of Clarkston, Michigan, was charged in a criminal complaint with production, transportation, and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.

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

According to court records, Kurtz, a Jesuit priest and former teacher at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, was arrested in November 2011—while he was residing in Chicago—for “sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust.” That arrest was based on an arrest warrant issued out of Douglas County, Colorado, for conduct that occurred in 2001. After Kurtz’s arrest in Chicago, two Jesuit priests discovered evidence of possible 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.

According to court records, the FBI’s investigation revealed that Kurtz surreptitiously videotaped UDJHS hockey players changing in the locker room after games during the 1998-1999 hockey season. Beyond this production of child pornography, the FBI also discovered that Kurtz transferred other child pornographic material from Clarkston to Chicago, and possessed still other child pornography in Clarkston.

Kurtz was arrested today in Missouri where he will face a magistrate judge for removal to the Eastern District of Michigan. If convicted of these offenses, Kurtz faces a term of 15-30 years in custody for the production of child pornography charge, 5-20 years in custody for the transportation of child pornography charge, and up to 10 years in custody for the possession of child pornography charge.

Kurtz was a teacher of chemistry at the UDJHS from 1970-1973, 1978-1983, and from September 1984-May 2001. McQuade praised the work of the FBI agents for their professionalism and dedication in their aggressive and thorough investigation of these cases.

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