Allegations made against priests with local ties

Monday, October 8, 2018

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Separate allegations of sexual abuse of minors involving three priests who have ties to Southeast Missouri were announced Monday by the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

The three separate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor involved the following priests: the retired Rev. Fred Lutz; the late Rev. John A. Brath; and the late Monsignor John J. Rynish, according to news releases issued by the Diocese.

Following procedures outlined in diocesan Safe Environment Policies and Procedures, the Diocese has notified civil authorities of the allegations. Additionally, pastoral support has been provided to the victims.

Both Lutz’s and Rynish’s allegations pertain to a period in the early 1970s; Brath’s allegation pertains to a period in the mid-1970s.

Lutz was born in 1943 and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in 1973. He retired from active ministry on March 1, 2011.

Locally, Lutz served as pastor of Guardian Angel Parish in Oran in 1994 and pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Advance and St. Anthony Mission Church in Glennon in 1996.

His pastoral appointments included: Lutz served in St. Mary of the Annunciation Cathedral in Cape Girardeau in 1972 and 1987 Pastor—Immaculate Conception Parish, Jackson in 1987.

From the 1970s through 2000s, Lutz served in Springfield. Pulaskifield, Cassville, Buffalo, conway, Jackson, Mount Vernon, Greenfield, Doniphan and Grandin. His last pastoral assignment was for St. Mary Parish in Lamar in 2010; he retired in 2011.

Brath was born in 1938 and ordained a priest in 1968 for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. He served as a chaplain in the Air Force from 1971 to 1974 earning the rank of captain. He retired from active ministry in 2007 and died in 2014.

His pastoral appointments included serving as the supply priest in 1968 for Immaculate Conception Parish in New Madrid. His other assignments included parishes in Buffalo, Sprinfield, Conway, Forsyth, Webb City, Joplin, Branson, Kimberling City, Lebanon, Pierce City, Ozark, Shell Knob, West Plains,

Rynish was born in Kansas City and ordained a priest in 1943 for the Diocese of Kansas City. The Diocese of Springfield Cape Girardeau was formed in 1956 from territory that was prior to 1956, part of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Kansas City.

Rynish retired from active ministry in 1993 and died in 2001. Locally, in 1960 he served as pastor of St. Eustachius Parish in Portageville.

His other pastoral appointments included parishes in Kansas City, Karlin, Buffalo, Bolivar and Neosho from 1940s through the 1950s. His assignments later included Springfield, Pierce City and Billings, which was his final assignment in 1993. He was also elected Diocesan Administrator in 1970 and 1973.

Assistance Provided to Victims

The Diocese will reach out to every person who has been the victim/survivor of sexual abuse as a minor by anyone acting in the name of the Church, whether the abuse was recent or occurred many years in the past. This outreach will include provision of counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services agreed upon by the victim and the Diocese. The Assistance Coordinator will aid in the immediate pastoral care of persons who claim to have been sexually abused as minors by clergy or other diocesan personnel.

Persons who wish to document an allegation may do so by calling the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-392-3738 of 844-CAN-TELL; or contact William Holtmeyer, Jr., MS, NCC, LPC, CEAP, Director of Child and Youth Protection, (417) 866-0841, or; or Victim Assistance Coordinator Judy St. John, LPC, NCC, (573) 587-3139, or; or through the diocesan Web-based TIPS Online reporting portal (see and look for “TIPS” link).

The Safe Environment Policies for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau are available by logging on to the diocesan Website at under the Child and Youth Protection ministry tab.

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