Officials from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati held a news conference on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, regarding suspended priest Geoff Drew, who once was assigned to a Liberty Twp. church.

After southwest Ohio priest rape indictment, prosecutor says more victims likely

The Rev. Geoff Drew, who worked in churches in Beavercreek, Dayton and Liberty Twp., was indicted by a Hamilton County grand jury on Monday on nine counts of allegedly raping a boy during one of his early assignments with the church.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Drew is accused of raping the alleged victim, who is now 41, periodically while working as a music director at St. Jude Church in western Hamilton County from 1988 to 1991.

“We believe there is pretty good probability there are other victims at schools he worked at,” Deters said.

The alleged victim was 10 and 11 years old when the acts are alleged to have happened. The man came forward following news of Drew’s suspension from St. Ignatius of Loyola in Hamilton County for allegedly texting a boy while under “monitor” after accusations about inappropriate activity during his time at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Liberty Twp.

“It took a lot of bravery for what he did,” in coming forward to Cincinnati Police, Deters said. “He is a very credible strong witness in this case.”

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Drew was assigned to St. Luke Catholic Church in Beavercreek from 2004-05, St. Rita Catholic Church in Dayton from 2005-09 and St. Maximilian Kolbe Church from 2009-18. He was transferred in 2018 to Cincinnati’s St. Ignatius of Loyola, from which he was suspended in July by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman Cara Sweet said that “our office did receive an inquiry about Geoff Drew, that our investigator reviewed and investigated. At this time, no evidence of criminal conduct was found.”

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said previously that his office investigated accusations of inappropriate behavior against Drew and found none of them to be criminal. Gmoser said Monday after the announcement of Drew’s indictment that Butler County prosecutors received no additional allegations concerning Drew after his suspension.

Geoff Drew was booked into the Hamilton County Jail on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer

The Greene County Prosecutor’s office also said it has not received criminal allegations against Drew.

Drew, who was arrested Monday and remains in custody, faces a life sentence if convicted, Deters said.

“When he (Drew) was transferred to St Ignatius he was told to stay away from the kids. He didn’t stay away from the kids. He sent text messages that were innocuous, but he wasn’t allowed to have any contact with them,” Deters said.

The man who is making the allegations against Drew “was very emotional, (and) it was emotional for him, and it was emotional for the grand jury.” said Deters, who added the man came forward because “he wanted to stop this behavior.”

The archdiocese released a statement after Monday’s announcement of the indictment.

“We have fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so,” the statement read, in part. “The protection of young people is of paramount importance and can never be compromised. Let us continue to pray for the healing of all victims of the horrific sin of sexual abuse.”

Earlier this month, hundreds of parishioners came to St. Maximillian Kolbe to hear the leader of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati explain why a the longtime priest was suspended.

Members nearly filled every pew in the massive church with many lining up to question the handling of Rev. Geoff Drew, their former pastor. Archdiocese officials have said “serious mistakes” were made in their handling of concerns and complaints brought to them regarding Drew.

During an Aug. 5 press conference, Archdiocese Spokesman Mike Schafer outlined allegations against Drew that led to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr placing him on administrative leave July 23 and ordering him into “comprehensive physical, psychological and spiritual evaluation at an independent in-patient treatment facility.”

“In 2013 and again in 2015, the central office of the archdiocese received concerns from St. Maximilian Kolbe parishioners regarding Father Drew’s behavior. The alleged behavior involved a pattern of such things as 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,” Schafer said.

“This behavior naturally made these boys uncomfortable.”

In October 2018, a letter from a St. Ignatius parishioner reported her son-in-law had a very negative experience with Drew while they were at Elder High School. Then in June, a St. Ignatius family alleged Drew texted their son, which led to his suspension.

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