Hamilton Co. priest indicted on 9 counts of rape

Updated: Aug. 19, 2019 at 6:57 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Prosecutor Joe Deters announced Monday that a Hamilton County priest has been indicted on nine counts of rape.

Deters said Father Geoff Drew is charged with raping a male elementary school student while he was employed at St. Jude School as a music minister between 1988 and 1991.

Drew was not a priest at the time as he was ordained in 2004, Deters said.

WATCH LIVE: Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is discussing a Cincinnati-area priest recently put on leave >> https://bit.ly/2MqImGr

Posted by FOX19 on Monday, August 19, 2019

According to Deters, the victim who is now 41, said the abuse happened in Drew’s office after school hours.

“This is an incredibly disturbing case... it’s affected not only the witness who came forward but also law enforcement,” Deters said. “I will never understand how someone in a position of authority and trust abuses that trust by sexually assaulting young children.”

Last month, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr sent a letter to St. Ignatius Loyota parishioners about Drew being placed on administrative leave on July 23 “due to behavior that violated our Decree on Child Protection."

According to the archdiocese, Drew’s alleged behavior involved a pattern of things such 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.

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In addition, there was a report of Drew texting some of the boys “teasing them about their girlfriends.”

“Pedophilia is not something you can be cured from. And it sounds cold but it’s a fact. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had other victims out there,” Deters said.

Drew’s employment and assignment overview:

  • Music Minister at St. Jude Parish: 1984-1999
  • Music Teacher at Elder High School: 1988-1991
  • Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West: 1999-2004
  • Internship year at St. Anthony, Madisonville: 2001-2002
  • Ordained a priest of the Archdiocese: May 2004
  • Parochial Vicar at St. Luke, Beavercreek: July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2005
  • Pastor of St. Rita, Dayton: July 1, 2005 - June 20, 2009
  • Port of St. Maximilian Kolbe , Liberty Township: July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2018
  • Pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola, Cincinnati: appointed July 1, 2018

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati said they have fully cooperated with the investigation.

"Today, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati learned that a Hamilton County Grand Jury returned a nine-count indictment against Fr. Geoff Drew stemming from alleged crimes during his time at St. Jude Parish, where he served as music director 1984-1999. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati was made aware of these allegations after Archbishop Schnurr removed Fr. Drew as pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish on July 23. We have fully cooperated with this investigation and will continue to do so.

The protection of young people is of paramount importance and can never be compromised," the archdiocese said.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement that reads in part:

“We know that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had been warned about Fr. Drew for at least six years without taking action to keep him away from children, so we hope that there are not others who are suffering in silence. We call on Archbishop Schnurr to personally visit every parish where Fr. Drew worked or attended and beg others who have information to come forward to police and prosecutors now."

Victims or anyone with information are being asked to contact Cincinnati Police Detective Dana Jones at 513-352-6947.

Drew is held without bond Hamilton County Justice Center and is scheduled to make his first court appearance in the case at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

He faces life in prison if convicted.

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