Cincinnati bishop resigns over handling of priest charged with altar boy’s rape

Bishop Joseph Binzer resigned from his role as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after failing to bring accusations and concerns of misconduct involving a priest to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr and the Priests’ Personnel Board.

“I am deeply sorry for my role in addressing the concerns raised about Father (Geoff) Drew, which has had a negative impact on the trust and faith of the people of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati,” Binzer said. “In April, having studied this matter since last summer, the Holy See informed me that it agreed with this assessment. As a result, and after much prayer and reflection, I offered my resignation from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. I believe this to be in the best interest of the archdiocese.”

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The bishop submitted his resignation in late April. Pope Francis accepted his resignation, which is effective today.

Though Binzer resigned from his role as auxiliary bishop, he will continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

“In this difficult and unfortunate time, please keep Bishop Binzer and all the people of the archdiocese in your prayers,” said Archbishop Schnurr. “Bishop Binzer will continue to serve the people of the archdiocese with the title of auxiliary bishop emeritus. What exactly that ministry will look like will be determined after discussions between Bishop Binzer, the Priest Personnel Board and me.”

The bishop was previously removed as director of the Priests’ Personnel after he did not bring concerns against Drew to the board.

Drew was indicted on nine counts of rape in August in connection to a man who said Drew raped him when he was St. Jude Church in Hamilton County from 1988 to 1991. Drew was employed at the church as a musical director at the time.

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Drew later was ordained as a priest and served at St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Twp. In 2013, allegations at the church arose that Drew behaved inappropriately.

The archdiocese said 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."

Binzer is a Cincinnati native and was ordained as a priest on June 4, 1994. He served as chancellor of the archdiocese for eight years before he was ordained as a bishop and given the position as auxiliary bishop on June 9, 2011.

“I have been blessed to serve the people of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as a priest for almost 26 years and hope to do so for years to come,” said Binzer I will continue to pray for all of you, and for all those I have affected.”

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