US bishop resigns; didn’t speak up on priest accused of rape

Associated Press

May 7, 2020

A Roman Catholic bishop in Cincinnati has resigned after not going to his superiors with concerns about a priest who now is set to be tried on charges that he raped a boy.

Pope Francis recently accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, the Vatican announced Thursday. The announcement gave no details.

But the Archdiocese of Cincinnati noted that Binzer had already been removed as director of priest personnel “after he failed to bring past concerns about Father Geoffrey Drew’s conduct to the attention of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr” and the priests’ personnel board.

Drew is accused of raping the boy in the 1980s and 1990s, years before he was ordained as a priest and while he was music director at a suburban Cincinnati parish. Drew has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape. His trial was scheduled for October.

“I am deeply sorry for my role in addressing the concerns raised about Father Drew, which has had a negative impact on the trust and faith of the people of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati,” the archdiocese quoted Binzer as saying. “In April, having studied this matter since last summer, the Holy See informed me that it agreed with this assessment.”

Binzer, a Cincinnati native, was ordained as a priest on June 4, 1994, and later served as chancellor of the archdiocese for eight years before being ordained a bishop. He was installed as auxiliary bishop in 2011. Binzer remains a priest in the archdiocese.

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