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Cincinnati Priest Molested Dozens, Ex-Students Say In $1 Million Suit

May 23, 2003 | AP A $1 million lawsuit filed against a priest, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the archbishop charges that the priest molested dozens of students at a boys school where he served as principal from 1970 to 1982.

The Rev. Lawrence Strittmatter, formerly principal at Elder High School in Cincinnati, molested "several dozen" students at the school, according to the lawsuit filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court by four former students.

The lawsuit charges that the archdiocese knew about the molestation but did not investigate it. The lawsuit also said the archdiocese never identified victims, never offered them assistance and failed to warn anyone about Strittmatter.

The lawsuit does not describe the specific abuse that the men say they suffered or the timing of it.

The archdiocese declined comment yesterday on the lawsuit, filed Wednesday.

"Without knowing the identity of the plaintiffs, we really can't comment on it," spokeswoman Tricia Hempel said.

The archdiocese announced in March 2002 that it still employed five priests who had been accused of past sexual abuse. A few months later, construction manager Bob Fricke said that he was sexually abused by Strittmatter when he was a student at Elder. Fricke said Strittmatter had inappropriate physical contact with him during an off-campus racquetball game.

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