Rev. Richard A. Arko

Summary of Case: Convicted in 2004 of growing marijuana in the church rectory. Police learned of the marijuana from an informant who also said he had been in a sexual relationship with Arko since he was 15 and that the priest would give him gifts, money and drugs in exchange for sex. In July 2004 Arko also lost his state license to perform massage therapy, based on the felony conviction for growing pot. Arko was laicized in 2015.

: 1990
Laicized: 2015


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Cleveland bishop was Anthony Michael Pilla (1980-2006)

1994 Holy Cross Euclid OH

2/4 , 3/3, 2/2


Holy Cross had a school with 425-469 students.
1994 2002 St. Mary's


• A 25 year old man who tipped the police off about Arko's marijuana cultivation in 2004 stated that Arko had been sexually molesting him from the time he was 15 through January 2004. He was reportedly lived in the St. Mary's neighborhood when he was 15 and was hired to shovel snow. The man said Arko plied, him with money, gifts-including buying him a house-and drugs in exchange for sex. (Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio]
February 11, 2004)




2001 2002 Sacred Heart Barberton OH Administrator  
2002 2004 Prince of Peace


• Arko was suspended from ministry in Jan. 2003 when he was arrested for cultivating marijuana in the parish rectory. A 24 year old man who was living with Arko was arrested with him for marijuana trafficking (Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio]
January 23, 2004) Arko was convicted in April 2004 on the marijuana charge and sentenced to two years probation. (Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio]
August 13, 2004)

OH 1/2

St. Mary's and Sacred Heart merged in 2002 to become Prince of Peace. Prince of Peace had a CCD program with 105 students.

Arko was a massage therapist and lost his license to practice after his marijuana conviction.

The 2004 Directory is the last in which Arko is indexed.

On July 20, 2015 the diocese announced that Arko had been laicized. (Diocese of  Cleveland, July 20, 2015.)    

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1991-2004)

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Arko's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on March 31, 2021.