Rev. Edward J. Fritsch

Summary of Case: Fritsch was accused in a 2002 lawsuit of having sexually abused a ninth grade girl repeatedly in the 1960s. Fritsch had already been sent to treatment by the diocese after his supervising priest at an Appalachian church reported to the bishop that Fritsch had had "contact" with numerous girls. He had also been removed from a parish after a married woman accused him of taking "sexual liberties" with her. He was removed yet again in 1967 when a young woman came forward to report that she was pregnant with his child. Fritsch left the priesthood, married and settled in New Jersey, where he worked at a home for "juvenile delinquents" and for a school board.

Ordained
: 1965

     

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1965

Covington bishop was Richard Henry Ackerman, C.S.Sp. (1960-1978)

 

St. William

Lancaster

Fritsh's supervising priest, Fr. Ralph Beiting, informed the bishop that Fritch "had had contact with about nine to ten girls". Most were college age, and one is said to have been 15 years old. (Lexington Herald Leader
January 14, 2005)

KY   Fritsch was sent to treatment for four months at Our Lady of Peace Psychiatric Hospital in Louisville. He is said to have made advances toward student nurses and female patients while there. A psychiatrist recommended he be removed from the priesthood if there were "more acute episodes".

Jan. 1966

 

  Blessed Sacrament

S. Fort Mitchell

Fritsch was removed from this parish in June 1966 after a married woman accused him of taking "sexual liberties" with her. (Lexington Herald Leader
January 14, 2005)

KY 4/4 Parish had a school with 469 boys and 395 girls.

Fall 1966

Owensboro bishop was Henry Joseph Soenneker (1961-1982)

  Blessed Sacrament   KY   Per the woman who accused Fritsch, he had been at this parish at some point before 1967.
1966 1967 Owensboro Catholic High School

In a 2002 lawsuit a woman accused Fritsch of having sexually abused her beginning when she was a ninth grader at Owensboro Catholic in the 1960s. (Lexington Herald Leader
January 14, 2005)

The girl transferred later that year to the Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, IN. According to the woman, Fritsch would take her for rides in his car during Sunday visits to the boarding school, then sexually abuse her. (Lexington Herald Leader
August 10, 2002)

KY teacher

The 1967 Directory indexes Fritsch as on duty outside the diocese, but he is not listed under that category in the Covington diocesan pages.

Per news reports, Fritsch taught at Owensboro Catholic. (Lexington Herald Leader
January 14, 2005)

1967 1968 Absent on Leave

 

A young Northern Kentucky woman came forward in 1967 to say that she was pregnant with Fritsch's child. He was then removed from ministry. (Lexington Herald Leader
January 14, 2005)

   

Fritsch is last indexed in the 1968 Directory.

Fritsch left the priesthood and married in 1969.

According to Fritsch's brother, Fritsch worked for the New Jersey state government from 1970-1976 at a home for juvenile delinquents, and for the the Parsippany school board from 1976-1994. (New Jersey Herald [Sparta NJ]
January 18, 2005)

As of 2010 Fritsch remained a licensed clinical social worker in New Jersey.


Source
: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1966-1968 )

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Fritsch's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Oct. 14, 2010

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