Cincinnati Auxiliary Bishop Resigns over Handling of Abuse Case, SNAP Responds
A high ranking church official in Cincinnati has resigned his post following public outrage over the archdiocese’s handling of a sexually abusive priest. We are glad that this bishop has stepped down but are concerned that this resignation will do little to address systemic issues within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer’s resignation was accepted by Pope Francis today following a year of scandal and outrage in Cincinnati due to church officials’ refusal to properly handle allegations of inappropriate behavior from a parish priest named Fr. Geoff Drew. Binzer was first informed of allegations against Fr. Drew in 2013 yet took 6 years to take any sort of meaningful action.
Yet while it is appropriate that Binzer lose his title and power due to his inaction in this case, we cannot help but feel that this is a half-measure. The simple fact is that Binzer remains employed by the archdiocese and is still a trusted confidant of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr. It is hard to believe that Archbishop Schnurr is blameless in this situation and easy to believe that Binzer, while certainly at fault, is being made to carry the entire load of this scandal.
Essentially, this is more of the same from the church: a priest does wrong, has his hand slapped, and is moved around. If church officials really cared about their promise to enforce “Zero tolerance,” then not only should Binzer’s demotion be elevated to a full firing, but Archbishop Schnurr should be held to account as well. It is clear that there are systemic issues at play in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and this shuffling of personnel will do nothing to address this issue.
We hope that this news will demonstrate to parents and the public the importance of making reports to independent, secular law enforcement officials. Further, we hope that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is following this situation closely and will use the powers of his office to intervene in Cincinnati and shine a light on the inaction of church officials and uncover the full breadth and depth of clergy abuse in Cincinnati.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)