Ray Township Catholic school administrator charged with child sexual abuse
47-year-old Macomb Township man was director of admissions at Austin Catholic Academy, youth minister at St. Isidore Church
MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A 47-year-old Macomb Township man has been arrested and charged in connection to the sexual abuse of a child.
Joseph Sturza was the director of admissions at the Austin Catholic Academy in Ray Township. He has been removed from that position while he faces accusations that he was sending sexually graphic emails to a child. The Macomb County Sheriff's Office says the emails were "indicative of child sexual-abuse activity."
The Sheriff's Computer-Crimes Team received copies of the emails which were intercepted by the child's parents. The parents had contacted the Austin Catholic Academy.
Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said the Archdiocese of Detroit immediately removed Sturza from his position upon learning of the allegations.
"They immediately took steps to remove the man from his position and they secured evidence," said Wickersham in a statement.
The Archdiocese released this statement, saying Sturza also worked as a youth minister at St. Isidore Church in Macomb Township:
"The Archdiocese of Detroit has been informed of the arrest of Mr. Joe Sturza, who was employed as director of admissions at Austin Catholic High School and as youth minister at St. Isidore Parish in Macomb Township. The Archdiocese was recently made aware of alleged inappropriate communications between Mr. Sturza and a minor. The information was immediately shared with the Macomb County Sheriff's Department. Mr. Sturza is no longer employed by the school or parish. The Archdiocese of Detroit is fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities. Due to the ongoing law enforcement and legal processes, we are unable to give further details about the matter at this time.
Families at Austin Catholic High School and St. Isidore are being informed of this situation. Mr. Sturza had been employed at the high school since October 2012 and part-time at the parish since this past summer. Also being informed are the communities of St. Francis of Assisi-St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in New Haven, where Mr. Sturza volunteered between 2006 and 2008, and worked as a youth minister from the fall of 2008 until the summer of 2014; and St. Mary Mystical Rose Parish in Armada, where Mr. Sturza worked as a youth minister from July 2011 until June 2014."
Sturza was arrested on Tuesday and is charged with the following:
Count 1: Child Sexual Abuse Activity (20 year felony)
Count 2: Computer-Communicating w/Another to Commit Crime (15 years)
Count 3: Children-Accosting For Immoral Purposes (4 years)
Count 4: Computer-Communicating w/Another to Commit Crime (4 years)
He was arraigned Wednesday morning and is being held at the Macomb County Jail on a $50,000 cash-or-surety bond. He is scheduled to be in court Dec. 9.
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