New York Post
December 5, 2021
By Patrick Reilly
A Catholic priest from Cincinnati pleaded guilty on Thursday to raping a 10-year-old altar decades ago, one day before the jury was to be selected for his trial.
The Rev. Geoff Drew, 59, was reportedly emotionless at his court appearance when he was directly addressed by his victim, now in his 40s.
“The truth is no amount of time will make up for the child that you murdered,” the victim told his abuser, according to Fox 19.
“Any chance of having intimacy, any chance to actually live, love, find joy, was stolen,” the victim said. “You made me unusable, undesirable, dirty and broken, but I trust in God that this is bigger than you. This is bigger than me. And this is in his authority to have vengeance. And one day you will have to stand in front of him.”
Drew was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to nine counts of rape from 1988 to 1991, far less than the possible 99-year sentence he would have faced if convicted by a jury. He must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The victim said in court Thursday that a photo on social media of Drew baptizing the child of someone he knew moved him to come forward.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz said Drew had lucked out with his plea bargain, as she would have “gladly” sentenced him to life in prison if convicted.
She said the jury may still be out on his eternal sentencing in the afterlife.
“This is shameful, just shameful. It’s shameful for the church, it’s shameful for you,” the judge told Drew, according to Fox 19. “I will tell you this, I believe in the afterlife. I believe God is a forgiving God, but I truly believe that he’s going to think twice when he sees you at the gates of heaven.”
Prosecutors said Drew raped the boy multiple times at St. Jude School in Green Township, Ohio, where Drew was musical minister prior to becoming a priest. The abuse reportedly occurred after school hours in Drew’s office.
Drew became a priest in 2004 and also taught at Elder High School in West Price Hill.
He was indicted in August 2019, and was subsequently placed on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Fox 19 reported.
Drew has now been stripped of all his ministerial duties, according to the Archdiocese.
“Father Geoff Drew will never again have a priestly assignment in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati or any other diocese,” Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr said in a prepared statement, according to Fox 19.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati admitted “serious mistakes” for its response to allegations against Drew, according to Fox 19.
Court records showed that the abuse continued throughout Drew’s career, which were expected to be detailed by the prosecution during his trial.
Another student at St. Jude also alleged that Drew groomed and sexually abused him between 1985 and 1987, when he was 12 years old or younger, according to court documents.
One of the Archdiocese’s highest ranking officials, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, resigned over his handling of sexual complaints against Drew.
He was removed in 2019 after he failed to report a 2013 accusation that Drew behaved improperly with children. His resignation was accepted by Pope Francis in May 2020.
“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,” Binzer said in a statement at the time.