Advocacy Groups Call For Investigation Into Archdiocese Of Cincinnati

Dec 16, 2020

The trial for a Cincinnati priest accused of raping a child is set for April of 2021. Former Father Geoffrey Drew is accused of raping an altar boy between 1988 and 1991 when he was the music minister at St. Jude School in Green Township.

Members of Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful wrote an op-ed in the Enquirer calling for an investigation into the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for its handling of Fr. Drew's case. They claim there were complaints about Drew spanning 30 years.

WVXU reached out to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for comment. Here is the full response: 

In response to your media inquiry, I offer the following that was sent to The Enquirer in response to their publication of 'Opinion: Archdiocese must be held accountable for priest abuse':
   
'The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is disappointed with the publication of an op-ed with erroneous facts in the article, "Opinion: Archdiocese must be held accountable for priest abuse" in the Dec. 6 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer. Based upon the Enquirer's own investigations over the years and reporting on this story for the last 16 months, it is clear that some of the "facts" cited in the op-ed are not true. We are greatly disappointed that this op-ed was run with inaccurate information.

Factual errors:

  • Fr. Geoff Drew was arraigned in August of 2020, not July 2020.
  • Misstatement of title 'Archbishop Binzer.' He is a bishop, not an archbishop.
  • Bishop Binzer was not 'Bishop Emeritus' at the time of the Catholic Schools Week Mass in January of 2020. Bishop Binzer resigned as auxiliary bishop in May of 2020 at which time the Canon Law of the Church confers the title 'Bishop Emeritus.'
  • This line is factually inaccurate: "Archdiocesan information is still filled with inaccuracies and omissions."
  • This line is factually inaccurate: "It conducts audits to measure compliance but only at parishes and schools suggested by the Archdiocese."

The Safe Environment office conducts both on-site and desktop audits of all institutions affiliated with the archdiocese.  These audits review compliance with the Decree concerning child protection training, background checks and monthly bulletin compliance.  The more than 360 local safe environment coordinators typically conduct monthly compliance checks regarding backgrounds and monthly bulletin compliance.
   
Annually, the safe environment office also works with the schools office to audit all employees licensed through the Ohio Department of Education to ensure those holding a license through ODE have completed child protection training, required background checks, and maintain monthly bulletin compliance.
   
In addition, the archdiocese provides annual audit documentation to the USCCB for the more than 40,000 archdiocesan active employees and volunteers regarding their compliance with the Decree on Child Protection/USCCB Charter on Child Protection. Compliance requirements include child protection training, background screening, and monthly bulletin compliance. Documentation is also provided for the number of youth trained child protection.
   
Every three years the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has an onsite audit conducted by the USCCB.

Thank you,
Jennifer Schack

Anyone who would like to reach the authors of this op-ed can email ohioansforchildprotection@gmail.com.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the op-ed and their calls for changes to Ohio's law to protect children from abuse are Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati Committee Member Teresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann; Child USAdvocacy Executive Director Kathryn Robb; and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Executive Director Zach Hiner.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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