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Priest who was a teacher at Detroit school gets 12-year prison sentence for child porn

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DETROIT — A Catholic priest who taught years ago at a Detroit high school was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Tuesday for transporting child pornography.

The collection, which included locker room video of hockey players, belonged to the Rev. Richard Kurtz and was discovered in 2011 when priests were packing his belongings in Oakland County, north of Detroit, and Chicago.

That same year, Kurtz was convicted in Douglas County, Colorado, with molesting a male student on a trip there in 2001 and placed on probation.

The sentence ordered Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith was two years less than the punishment sought by prosecutors.

"To say that Kurtz was a wolf in sheep's clothing is to suggest that Kurtz attempted to blend in with the flock to commit his offenses. But Kurtz did more," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mulcahy said in a court filing. "Kurtz is more accurately described as a wolf in shepherd's clothing, devouring some of his sheep for his own sexual pleasure."

Kurtz was dismissed from an all-boys school, University of Detroit Jesuit High School, in 2001 when his bosses learned about the sexual assault in Colorado. The allegations, however, were not reported to authorities at that time.

His Jesuit superiors sent Kurtz to Toronto for sexual counseling, followed by years of assignments in Cleveland, San Francisco, Chicago and Milwaukee, where he had little or no contact with minors, defense attorney Christopher Andreoff said.

Charges were filed in Colorado in 2011, 10 years later. After Kurtz' arrest, former students in the Detroit area told authorities of other incidents in the 1980s and 1990s.

Hockey players said Kurtz would talk to them while holding a video camera as they changed clothes after games. They didn't know the camera was on.

"There is no real explanation for his continued possession of the pornographic materials," Andreoff said in a court filing. "He has accepted responsibility for his conduct."

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