Former deacon, teacher in Mahoning County loses teaching license

BY The Vindicator Staff Report

August 8, 2014

A former deacon and teacher at two schools in Mahoning County has lost his teaching license.

Ernest Formichelli taught at Cardinal Mooney High School from 1976-2013 and St. Christine School from 1971-76, according to diocese records. He no longer is employed by the Diocese of Youngstown and no longer is a deacon.

In September 2013, the Ohio Board of Education accepted a resolution “to accept the voluntary surrender and to enter an order to revoke permanently the five-year professional high school teaching license and permanent nontax teaching certificate” of Formichelli.

In an email, the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the information about Formichelli was a “random discovery” it made on the state board of education website, www.education.ohio.gov.

During a news conference in June, Judy Jones, Midwest associate director of SNAP, said a SNAP member had been abused by a deacon, and another person also had accused that deacon of abuse. SNAP would not name the deacon at that time, but Jones said Thursday that the accusations were against Formichelli.

However, in a statement, the Rev. John Jerek, vicar of clergy for the Diocese of Youngstown, said: “SNAP has been misinformed and is operating under suspicions, not facts. The Diocese of Youngstown follows civil law, church law and our policy of putting children first in every case of allegation of sexual abuse.”

Formichelli was among seven people mentioned in the Ohio Board of Education meeting minutes concerning licenses to teach. The minutes note that Formichelli “waived his right to a hearing” and is ineligible to apply for certification or licensure in Ohio.

“Ohio law prohibits the Diocese of Youngstown from giving specifics on the employment of any individual. All of us who are employees would like to be respected in the same way,” the diocese release read. “There is a process,” he said, adding the diocese works with authorities in reports of abuse.

Father Jerek added that “there is a process on both ends” that protects parties involved.

Jones said SNAP believes it is the responsibility of the diocese to release or post the names of abusers on its website.

The Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office could not release any information, but Jones said reports were taken.

Formichelli could not be reached for comment; no phone number is listed.

Father Jerek’s news release said that when the diocese receives an allegation, action is taken. “Following the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and the Diocese of Youngstown Child Protection Policies all allegations of sexual abuse are reported to the civil authorities. The independent Diocesan Review Board examines the case and initiates an investigation by a retired FBI agent. During the investigation, the priest or deacon is placed on administrative leave. Once the investigation is completed, the Review Board makes a recommendation to the Bishop concerning whether or not the person should continue in ministry,” the release stated.

The charter does not apply to any action that occurred prior to ordination, the news release stated. It continued, “When the diocese receives an allegation about a lay person, it is reported to the civil authorities and the person is placed on administrative leave until the result of the civil investigation is known. If the allegation is proved true or credible, the person is dismissed.”

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