Archbishop to discuss ‘horrible situation’ of priest’s rape charges with Dayton parishioners

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Father Geoff Drew, a Catholic priest who is facing child rape charges in Hamilton County, was investigated earlier this month for alleged inappropriate behavior in Montgomery County, according to the prosecutor?€™s office.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The leader of Southwest Ohio’s Catholic churches will meet with parishioners of Dayton’s St. Rita of Cascia Parish in the wake of the church’s former priest being charged with raping an altar boy.

Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will hold a parishioners-only meeting on Sept. 5 at St. Rita, said Jennifer Schack, director of media relations for the Archdiocese.

The announcement of the visit came three days after Pastor Geoff Drew was arrested after being indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury on nine counts of raping an altar boy while Drew worked as a music minister at St. Jude Church in Hamilton County three decades ago.

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Later in his career, Drew worked as a Pastor of St. Rita from July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2009.

“The Archdiocese is also working hard to be transparent with information and to apologize for the mistakes that we made. We know that the faithful are rightfully struggling with the many hard emotions associated with this horrible situation,” she said.

The archdiocese previously held meetings with parishioners at St. Ignatius Parish in Cincinnati and St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Twp.

“We have also worked closely with the (church) communications teams at each parish to share information with their parish throughout this process,” Schack said.

Drew, who has pleaded not guilty to the rape charges, remains in custody at the Hamilton County Justice Center while being held on $5 million bond after being described as a “flight risk” by the presiding judge in his case.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the alleged rapes of an altar boy occurred between 1988 and 1991, when Drew was employed as a music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township in western Hamilton County.

Drew was not a priest at the time. He was ordained in 2004.

Drew’s next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11. He faces life in prison if convicted.