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Cincinnati priest accused of soliciting St. Xavier student via text

(Photo: The Enquirer/Carrie Cochran) (Photo: The Enquirer/Carrie Cochran)
Cincinnati Enquirer -

A St. Xavier High School priest has been removed from the school faculty after he was accused of soliciting a student for sex.

According to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer, Father John Ferone was, until recently, St. Xavier’s Director of Adult Faith and Ignatian Programming. Officials with the school said Ferone no longer works at St. Xavier.

Becky Schulte, Director of Communications and Marketing for St. Xavier, released the following statement:

On February 15, 2018, St. Xavier High School was made aware of an inappropriate communication between Fr. Ferone, a staff member at the school, and a student. In accordance with school policy, we took the following actions:

1) We immediately removed Fr. Ferone from all contact with students and placed him on administrative leave.

2) We notified the student’s parents.

3) We notified the Springfield Township Police Department and presented them with all information known to us.

At the conclusion of the school’s investigation, on February 23, Fr. Ferone was terminated from St. Xavier High School.

The safety of our students remains our highest priority.

But Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the priest was accused of soliciting sex from a student via a text message. 

Deters would not talk about what the message said specifically, but he said early indications are that it was inadvertently sent to the student.

“Based on what we know now, there’s not going to be any criminal charges,” Deters said. “If we need to follow up, we will.”

Deters said that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati – which does not own St. Xavier but works with the school in many aspects – is conducting its own investigation into the matter. An Archdiocesan spokesman said it is actually the Chicago-based Jesuits who are conducting the investigation. St. Xavier is a Jesuit school.

It does not appear St. Xavier officials filed a police report regarding the incident. Deters said it was reported directly to his office and that there are no written reports.

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