Former Johnstown Priest Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor in '70s

Newark Advocate
July 18, 2013

JOHNSTOWN — A Catholic priest who used to serve at the Church of the Ascension was put on administrative leave Wednesday by the Diocese of Columbus as it looks into allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father Ronald J. Atwood, 69, served at the Johnstown parish from 1982 to 1991, according to a news release issued by the diocese Wednesday.

The sexual abuse of the minor allegedly took place while Atwood served at a Columbus school and parish from 1976 to 1979. The abuse was reported to the diocese Monday, according to the news release.

Atwood has been a priest for the diocese since 1969, serving at parishes all in Columbus except for the stint in Johnstown. He was most recently pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Columbus, according to the release.

A diocesan review board will meet to further investigate the allegations. A records search shows Atwood has not yet been named in any lawsuits in Franklin County or Licking County courts.

The Diocese of Columbus encourages anyone who might have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated with the church to contact the diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at 614-224-2251, 866-448-0217 or and to notify civil authorities.

Forms for reporting abuse are available in Catholic parish and school offices and can be accessed from the diocesan website,


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