“You have no idea the weight we carry:” Survivors testify for Ohio bill changing rape laws

WKRC-TV, CBS-12 [Cincinnati OH]

May 31, 2022

[VIDEO: Paul Neyer, 43, stands before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about being raped as a child by a local music director who later became a priest. Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would change the statute of limitations for victims of child rape. (The Ohio Channel)]

A local man who was raped as a child by a church organist, who later became a priest, came forward publicly to work to change child rape laws in Ohio.

Paul Neyer was raped by Geoff Drew when Drew was the music minister at St. Jude in Green Township. Drew has since pleaded guilty to nine counts of rape.

On Tuesday, Neyer held up a picture of himself as an 8-year-old boy when he spoke before the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee. He was one of three rape survivors to testify about Senate Bill 226.

Neyer is now 43 years old. He told the committee it took him almost 30 years to tell someone about the abuse he endured over a two-year period.

“Access to the ability to have one’s abuser held responsible in court in the state of Ohio is not available for all. The statute of limitation laws in place only protect those that assault children and do not allow the victims to have the time needed to mature, process and muster up a mountain of strength to come forward,” Neyer said. “If you’ve never experienced the pain that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys like me have endured, you have no idea the weight we carry and the amount of time in a safe environment it takes to come to terms with what happened to us.”

The bill would extend the amount of time victims have to come forward.