Plea negotiations underway in Father Geoff Drew rape case

Jury selection starts Friday for former parish priest accused of raping altar boy 30 years ago.

Negotiations are underway for a plea deal in the case of Father Geoff Drew, the Cincinnati Catholic priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago.

Sources told WCPO 9 there are active negotiations on a plea agreement ahead of the start of Drew’s trial Friday, and the victim in the case has participated in those discussions.

Drew, 59, is charged with nine counts of rape and has, so far, pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison if convicted.

According to prosecutors, he repeatedly assaulted an altar boy over a three-year period from 1988-91.

The priest insists he’s innocent, according to court documents filed by Drew’s defense attorney, Brandon Moermond.

The alleged attacks took place in Drew’s office at St. Jude Church, where he was the music minister. His accuser, now 41, was 10 and 11 when Drew raped him, according to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Following Drew’s arrest, officials with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said they made “serious mistakes” in responding to parishioners’ concerns about Drew’s behavior dating back at least six years.

Parishioners of St. Maximilian Kolbe, where Drew was pastor from July 2009 to June 2018, expressed concerns to the central office of the archdiocese in 2013 and again in 2015, according to a news release from the archdiocese.

Drew’s concerning behavior included “uninvited bear hugs, shoulder massages, patting of the leg above the knee, and inappropriate sexual comments about one’s body or appearance, directed at teenage boys,” the release said.

The complaints were forwarded to the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office and Butler County Children Services. The prosecutor’s investigation found no evidence of criminal behavior.

According to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, Bishop Joseph Binzer addressed the issue with Drew, who said he would change his behavior.

The archdiocese’s central office did not receive another complaint about Drew until August 2018, a month after he had been assigned as pastor of St. Ignatius. His departure from the Liberty Twp. church was not related to parishioners’ complaints, according to the archdiocese; he had requested the transfer so he could live closer to his mother.

In 2019, school officials at St. Ignatius School said they were never told Drew was to be monitored and kept away from kids. They placed him on leave following accusations he was inappropriately texting at least one boy.

About the Author