Last week was an emotional one for many area Catholics, especially parishioners at St. Maximilian Kolbe parish in Liberty Twp. and St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Hamilton County, when they learned why their former pastor was suspended.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati outlined the events that lead up to Archbishop Dennis Schnurr’s suspension of the Rev. Geoff Drew.
“It’s obvious that in this matter we have handled things very, very poorly, made serious mistakes. And for that I am deeply, deeply apologetic. I’m deeply sorry. I’m sorry for the pain that this has caused so many people,” Schnurr said.
“I want to assure everybody that we have learned from this experience and that we are making necessary procedural and personnel changes that are, indeed, necessary to not repeat it.”
“To the people who have been impacted by this, I express my deep sorrow and my deep apologies.”
Here is what transpired:
2013: First allegation of inappropriate touching, texts and sexual comments with teenage boys at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Liberty Twp.
2015: A second complaint comes in to the central office of the archdiocese. The complaints were immediately sent to the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, where no evidence of criminal behavior was found.
2013-2015: Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, as director of priest personnel, spoke to Drew about his behavior and Drew said he was unaware there were issues.
July 2018: Drew applied for and was named pastor at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Hamilton County.
August 2018: Schnurr personally received a complaint from a St. Maximilian Kolbe parishioner.
September 2018: On the advice of Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser, Drew was asked to restrict his involvement with the school and a monitor was assigned.
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.
February 2019: The archdiocese chancellor, the Rev. Steve Angi, received the prosecutor’s latest report and hired Strategic HR to do an investigation.
May 2019: The Strategic HR report was received and Drew was ordered into counseling.
June 2019: A St. Ignatius family alleged Drew texted their son. The complaint was turned over to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office. The text was confirmed and found to have violated the Decree on Child Protection.
July 23: Drew was suspended.
August 5: The archdiocese reveals Binzer was removed as director of priest personnel pending an investigation into how he handled the Drew situation. He apparently never told Schnurr about the past incidents.
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