WCPO - ABC 9 [Cincinnati OH]
September 28, 2022
By Craig Cheatham
[Photo above: Geoff Drew was a music teacher at Elder High School from 1983-1990. Elder High School Year
Rape victim releases new records from investigation
In a “chilling” phone call to then-Rev. Geoff Drew, the Catholic priest who raped him three decades ago, Paul Neyer said he was so unnerved that he grabbed a table and felt like he could “squeeze through it.”
At the request of detectives investigating his case, Neyer called Drew on July 31, 2019, one day after investigators from Green Township and Cincinnati interviewed him about being raped, according to previously unreleased police records from the investigation.
According to the 20-page investigation report, Neyer told Drew he was “struggling from things that happened in the past.”
Unprovoked, Drew offered to meet Neyer in person, “so they could talk,” according to the report.
“If you think I did something to you when you were a minor, I don’t have a clue what you could be talking about,” Drew told Neyer, according to the police report.
Three weeks later, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted Drew on nine counts of rape.
The investigation report is one of the documents Neyer, 44, provided to the WCPO 9 I-Team on Wednesday. Neyer said he received them after filing a public records request with the Cincinnati Police Department.
“I had knowledge about things that didn’t have the opportunity to be revealed,” Neyer said. “I wanted to make sure there was transparency.”
Drew was a lay music minister at St. Judge when he sexually assaulted Neyer. He became an ordained priest in 2004.
In December 2021, Drew pleaded guilty to nine counts of rape and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
The documents provided by Neyer reveal many details of the investigation that were never made public.
Neyer told the I-Team he declined to meet with Drew because he didn’t think he could handle it.
“I felt like a kid again,” Neyer said. “It was disgusting.”
The CPD investigation report provides details of the abuse and concerns shared by others who said they witnessed Drew’s “inappropriate” conduct with children.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati insisted it was unaware of the rape allegations prior to Drew’s indictment. But the police investigation found parents and students had expressed concerns about the way Drew spoke and touched children even before he became a priest.
Parents of children from several parishes where Drew served as pastor complained about his conduct, according to the records provided by Neyer.
The records provided by Neyer include emails and a detailed timeline of incidents at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township documented by a lay leader at the church.
Drew was pastor at St. Maximilian from July 2009 through June 2018, according to church records.
According to the lay leader’s timeline, Drew made inappropriate sexual comments, including referring to a boy’s legs as “sexy.” The document claims Drew discussed parishioners’ medical problems with other parishioners and staff.
The lay leader wrote that another parent claimed Drew told her that her son’s struggles with pornography were “no big deal.”
Drew “told the pastoral team that he would give kids his cell phone number,” according to the timeline report, which also mentioned that youth “would call him at all hours of the night, like 2 or 3 in the morning.”
Those alleged incidents occurred within Drew’s first few years at St. Maximilian.
In March 2013, the lay leader wrote that she and two co-workers met with then-Auxilliary Bishop Joseph Binzer to share their concerns about Drew’s alleged violations of the Decree on Child Protection. But she claimed Binzer looked at her documented incidents and handed it back to her. Then, failed to get back to them after they left the archdiocese’s offices.
There were more complaints, but none of those concerns rose to the level of criminal conduct, Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser told the I-Team.
Gmoser said in September 2018 he told the archdiocese that Drew should be monitored based on allegations that Drew touched and communicated with teenage boys in a sexually suggestive manner.
The Archdiocese confirmed during a news conference in August 2019 that after receiving Gmoser’s recommendation, it had not actively monitored Drew. Instead, the Archdiocese allowed Drew to self-report to a ‘monitor’ not connected with the parish, according to Archdiocese Spokesman Mike Schafer.
Complaints continued at St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Green Township where Drew served as pastor beginning in July 2018, according to the archdiocese.
The archdiocese placed Drew on leave on July 23, 2019. A week later, Drew was removed as pastor of St. Ignatius.
“We should have put much stronger verification in place, including telling certain St. Ignatius Parish and school leaders,” Schafer said at the August 2019 news conference.
The archdiocese also announced it had removed Binzer as the head of personnel because he had failed to share complaints about Drew with Archbishop Dennis Schnurr.
Neyer said years ago he told his future wife, Liesl, about Drew raping him. Later, Neyer said he shared his painful experiences for the first time with his parents.
By the time Drew was removed as pastor of St. Ignatius, Neyer had decided to be interviewed formally by detectives and, hopefully, get charges filed against Drew.
On Wednesday, after sharing the previously unreleased records with the I-Team, Neyer said he hasn’t read most of the records. He said he may review them with his therapist.
He emphasized that his faith, family and friends have provided him with critical support during his journey.
“God’s my safest outlet,” said Neyer. “He saw me all the way through.”