WTOV - Fox 9 [Steubenville OH]
April 14, 2021
By Jessica Haberley
A former Franciscan University of Steubenville Friar accused of raping a student in the past was arraigned Wednesday morning, then released.
David Morrier entered a not guilty plea to rape and sexual battery at the Jefferson County Courthouse and was released on his own recognizance.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said because Morrier appeared voluntarily, he’s entitled by statute to be out of jail until the trial date approaches.
The alleged crimes took place from Nov. 2010 to spring 2013 — but came to light a few years ago.
The alleged victim was an undergraduate and then a graduate student at Franciscan over that course of time.
“Part of the allegations as part of the sexual battery charges is he used his position as a counselor or therapist with her to make her believe that engaging in sexual activity with him would help with the mental health issues that she was having,” Hanlin said.
Hanlin noted that though there may be a lack of physical evidence, she said there has been a lot of time and effort put into the investigation, interviewing the alleged victim and others in the case.
Representatives from a group called SNAP – or ‘Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests,’ were also at the arraignment and had this message.
“Other victims, they need to contact law enforcement if they have been involved in anything, any kind of abuse. It is a crime,” said Judy Jones from SNAP.
The case was assigned to Judge Joseph Bruzzese.