Prosecutor says there may be more work to do in Morrier case

WTOV - Fox 9 [Steubenville OH]

March 11, 2022

By Paul Giannamore

Jefferson County OH – Former Franciscan friar David Morrier was sentenced Friday to five years probation and lifetime registration as a sex offender. And the victim’s statement indicated the abuse was reported, but no one intervened.

After hearing the emotional statement from the victim in the case, NEWS9 asked Prosecutor Jane Hanlin if there was more work to be done by investigators.

“One of the most disturbing parts of her statement is how many people should have intervened and should have helped this young woman when she was a student on their campus,” Hanlin said. “And, so, there may be more work to do on this case because it’s certainly clear to us and it was clear through her statement that there were a number of points that this should have stopped.”

In her statement, the victim said while the abuses continued over a period of three years, the university, nor the friars took her allegations seriously when she reported them. She finally got action when she reported to the Diocese of Steubenville in 2018. Hanlin credited the Steubenville Police for its investigation. The abuses she described included exorcism attempts involving multiple people in addition to Morrier.

“It’s hard with these cases when you’re talking about sexual abuse allegations that are over a decade old,” Hanlin said. “A lot of the same people aren’t there. There certainly isn’t physical evidence. You don’t have the kind of eyewitness testimony. The university brings in people from all over the country and all over the world. Some people who knew what was going on aren’t there anymore.”

She said there is still room to look at those who should have helped.

“If those folks are still there, I think there are questions for them to answer about exactly why this would have gone on for so long.”

Morrier will remain under house arrest at a residence in Steubenville until his paperwork is cleared to send him back to Pennsylvania.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin. Screen image from WTOV video.
Prosecutor Jane Hanlin. Screen image from WTOV video.

Franciscan University released the following statement:

“Today, Father David Morrier pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery, which is not only a crime but a serious sin. We are sorry, saddened, and angered by the harm Father Morrier has caused. The University prays for peace and healing for the victim in this heartbreaking situation.

“We are aware of the pain so many people have experienced from members in the Church and continue to offer atonement and prayers of healing for those victims.

“Father Morrier worked at Franciscan from 2002 until the spring of 2013 when he was transferred from Franciscan University to the Province headquarters in Loretto, PA. Franciscan University was not aware of any claims of sexual impropriety at the time of his transfer.

“The University’s Title IX Coordinator was first notified of the sexual abuse allegations in 2015, after which the University met with the victim, advised her of her right to an investigation and resolution under the University’s Title IX policy, and offered to assist her in reporting to police. The University subsequently cooperated with the law enforcement investigation.

“The University’s Title IX policies have improved over the years, and we have more resources than ever to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct. To remain vigilant and to help ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again, the University continues to evaluate and update our policies and resources going forward.

“When Franciscan University receives sexual misconduct complaints, it acts upon them according to our Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. Anyone who may have been harmed while at Franciscan University is offered counseling and other appropriate services. More information can be found here.

“Anyone who experienced or is aware of sexual misconduct at Franciscan University is encouraged to make a report to the University and/or the Steubenville Police Department (740-282-5353). Anonymous reports may be made to the University through EthicsPoint ( or 844-521-7816). To speak to someone at Franciscan directly, please contact the Title IX/EEO Coordinator Ann Booth (; 740-283-4338).