Cincinnati Church Officials Shift Blame over Fr. Drew

Three times in six years, Cincinnati Catholic officials reported suspicious conduct by a priest to a prosecutor. However, they then ignored the prosecutor’s recommendation, and let the cleric "self-report” to a '’monitor” not connected with his parish. Today, that prosecutor, Mike Gmoser, called the church leaders’ behavior “absurd.” We would use much harsher language.

Fr. Geoff Drew, until recently the pastor of St. Ignatius Loyola Paris, allegedly “touched and communicated with teenage boys in a sexually suggestive manner.” The priest should have been suspended following each and every report, and Archbishop Dennis Schnurr should have publicly announced the suspension and the reasons behind it. The archbishop should also have sought out others who may have suffered, witnessed or suspected similar behavior by Fr. Drew.

Instead, the typical playbook of “obfuscate, deny, and ignore” was applied, keeping children in Cincinnati at risk. Contrary to what Bishop Schnurr said, we would not characterize these actions --or rather these lack of actions -- as “serious mistakes.” Based on the Catholic’s church’s past record, we would say that they were deliberate decisions, designed to protect the comfort, careers and reputations of church officials, as well as the institution itself.

This is the latest in a long, painful pattern of bishops refusing to accept responsibility for the Catholic sex abuse scandal, whether they blame subordinates, lawyers, reporters, gay people, church psychologists, society’s ‘lax morals,’ or even victims themselves.

We call on Cincinnati Catholics to donate elsewhere until everyone who was responsible for putting children in harm’s way is identified, disciplined, and denounced. Only when there are quick and sure consequences for such irresponsible behavior will abuse and cover-ups truly stop. Finger pointing and blame shifting only perpetuates the problem, when instead heads should roll. 

CONTACT: Dan Frondorf, SNAP Cincinnati (danielfrondorf@gmail.com, 513-706-7403), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(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)


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  • True Catholic
    commented 2019-08-08 12:06:55 -0500
    It is interesting to note, Fr. Drew was reported as early as 2013. Is it a coincidence
    that during that time the plans were being made for the $130 Million “One Faith, One Hope, One Love” capital fundraising campaign that was announced to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati parishioners on January 23, 2015. It was a program of 5 years of pledges. I cannot count how many times during the last five plus years Archbishop Schnurr has publicly spoken or written that their are no credible allegations of priest sexual abuse in the Archdiocese. Now when the campaign is concluding we start to learn that their are several instances of priest abuse that were not reported to the laity during this time.
    During the meeting at St. Maximilian Kolbe church on Tuesday August 6, Archbishop Schnurr acknowledged that there is another priest in the Archdiocese who was removed and laicised from the priesthood during this time period, but was not reported because the victim was an adult. It must be noted, the victim was a very young adult. Chancellor Father Steve Angi sent an e-mail on March 20, 2015 concerning this same priest, acknowledging there were allegations against this priest concerning violations to the Decree on Child Protection and that he would report this to civil authorities. This allegation concerned a minor. None of this was ever reported to the parishioners.
    Could it be that our children’s safety in our parishes was compromised due to concerns that it might affect the outcome of the coffers of the Archdiocese? What has been the toll on these affected families from the actions of the officials of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati? I will not believe that Archbishop Dennis Schnurr did not know of these allegations. As the Archbishop, he is ultimately responsible for the protection of our children. In this day, if he did not know, at the least, it is total incompetency on his part. It may be worse.

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