WTOV - Fox 9 [Steubenville OH]
March 11, 2022
By Paul Giannamore
[Photo above: Survivor of abuse by Rev. David Morrier TOR reads her victim impact statement at Morrier’s sentencing hearing on March 11, 2022. Screen image from WTOV video included in the report. See also the text of her impact statement.]
Jefferson County OH – A former Franciscan friar has been sentenced on sex crimes that took place when he was at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
“I’ve lost the last 12 years of my life to him, the third order regular Franciscans and Franciscan university,” the victim said in court Friday.
As the victim read a long and emotional statement, David Morrier sat emotionless in the Jefferson County Common Pleas Courtroom of Judge Joseph Bruzzese.
The victim, who said the media could show her face, wanted to stop Morrier from being in a position to hurt anyone else, she said.
Morrier was a Franciscan friar assigned to the university back in 2010. He is accused of committing sex crimes against the young woman between 2010 and 2013. The acts were done in the name of religion and took place in a confessional, in a room in the Finnegan Fieldhouse, chapels and Morrier’s office and included acts termed exorcism under church law.
“When exorcisms weren’t enough, more deliverance sessions were done where adult men restrained me physically in a chair or on the floor with their hands, their arms their legs and at times their whole body while the other adults in the room forced prayer over me,” the victim recounted.
She said Morrier convinced her to stay at the university for a graduate degree after he had asserted control over her. She said she tried reporting the incidents to university administration and staff, to other friars and Morrier’s superiors, but to no avail. She was treated with disdain and told she would be hurting Morrier.
The victim had been abused as a child, she said, and Morrier took advantage of her trust in her sophomore year.
She said she’s racked up $750,000 in student loan debt and struggles to stay financially afloat. She was told he was removed from ministry, but found he was still celebrating mass and was given a going away party by a church where he was assigned.
She then reported Morrier’s crimes to the Diocese of Steubenville, which she said never hesitated to do the right thing. Steubenville police investigated. And Morrier was charged with rape and two counts of sexual battery – where a person has control over a victim. He pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery and was sentenced to five years probation and to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Bruzzese ordered Morrier to register before sundown instead of the customary three-day grace period.
“By the way, I have to say that is the most powerful victim impact statement I have ever heard,” the judge said.