By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Vatican has defrocked a priest from the Diocese of Covington who was accused of sexually abusing a child.
Diocese officials confirmed Tuesday that the Rev. Louis J. Holtz was recently removed from the priesthood after he voluntarily agreed to undergo laicization, a process that strips priests of their titles and roles with the church.
"For all intents and purposes, Father Holtz is no longer a priest," said Tim Fitzgerald, spokesman for the Diocese of Covington.
Holtz was suspended in 1995 after a Fort Thomas man, Bernard Gerhardstein, told church officials that Holtz had abused him in 1974 in rural Campbell County when he was 13.
Gerhardstein has said he settled out of court with the diocese in 1997 for an undisclosed sum and with Holtz for $10,000 in a separate agreement.
At the time of his suspension, Holtz agreed to undergo laicization, but he did not apply to be defrocked by the Vatican until last July.
Since laicization is a voluntary process, it could not begin until Holtz filed his application. If he had not done so, the church could have sought to force him from the priesthood.
While he was suspended, Holtz was barred from calling himself "Father," could not present himself as a priest and was not permitted to perform priestly duties in public. Now that he has been defrocked, the restrictions are permanent.
Cleaning water beneath Fernald will take longer
Norwood blight fight heats up
Elder removes priest's picture
Covington Diocese priest in child-sex case defrocked
College quiz 101: What's your major?
IN THE TRISTATE
Chesley aims to combine lawsuits
Spay/neuter program receives $20K grant
Here's chance to see old Woodward
Robber hits Carthage savings and loan, flees
Picture of the Day: Freedom Center Rising
Tristate A.M. Report
Bronson: Hannity shows the other side of the boycott story
Korte: City Hall
Howard: Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
I-75 Liberty Twp. exit seems likely
Clermont seeks public advice on Metro bus routes
Butler trustees postpone rezoning for new complex
Computers in cruisers will aid Mason officers
UC adds presence in Warren
Decision on voting machines delayed
William G. Thornton, 89, built $10M firm
Lawrence Daily owned Swisher's department store
U.S. House investigates 6th Circuit Appeals Court
Cleveland-to-Canada ferry service studied
Former city councilman convicted of solicitation
Major gets life term in '80 slaying
Festival of Speed includes ballpark
Grant Co. gets West Nile case