Toledo Catholic Diocesan predator passes away; SNAP responds
A former Toledo Catholic Diocesan Director of youth ministries who resigned after multiple credible allegations of child sex abuse has died.
His death was announced on the Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish’s Facebook page.
While we are sad for his family members, we are also grateful Terry Steinbauer will never be able to violate another child. And we hope his passing will bring some measure of comfort and relief to everyone he hurt or who reported or suspected his abuse.
For 15 years, Steinbauer was the head of youth ministries program for the Toledo Catholic diocese. He trained youth ministers. In 1996, he was forced to resign after more than four women, including long time Toledo area SNAP director Claudia Vercellotti, told diocesan officials that he had sexually abused them when they were minors. The first Ohio chapter of SNAP was started by Vercellotti and another victim in 2002, after Vercellotti discovered the Diocese was allowing Steinbauer back volunteering with young girls.
“Although banned from ministry, the Rossford resident took part in at least two subsequent youth retreats including an overnight trips in 2001,” said Hiner
Then-Toledo Bishop James Hoffman sent a letter to parents of children on the retreats to "inform them of this mistake."
It was, of course, no mistake. It was sadly typical of the many reckless and callous moves over many years by current and former Toledo Catholic officials.
He is the brother of Toledo’s Fr. Joseph Steinbauer and he attended Holy Spirit Seminary in Toledo.
“Even in death, Catholic officials continue to give child predators a special dispensation, it’s insensitive and dangerous when they continue to name buildings, street signs, parcels of land, and give other honorariums and tributes to those who sexually abused kids. Why? It emboldens wrong doers and helps perpetuate sexual crimes against kids by minimizing the wrong doers crimes. Doesn’t who we honor, matter?" said Vercellotti
In addition to our call for the Toledo Catholic Diocese to stop honoring those who have sexually abused kids, we hope Steinbauer’s passing will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes – or were further victimized by church cover ups – to come forward and seek help from independent sources like police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours, not church institutions or individuals.
(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)