Pastor Removed from Diocese

WBNS [Columbus OH]
January 19, 2006

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus is removing a Columbus priest from ministry in the Catholic Church.

The move follows a diocesan investigation of an allegation made against Fr. Samuel E. Ritchey, and a recommendation by the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children.

The alleged abuse occurred in 1977, and was reported on December 14, 2005. The allegation was then reported to Children Services in Fairfield and Franklin County. The Diocese says this is the first time an individual has come forward to accuse Fr. Ritchey of abuse.

Fr. Ritchey was placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation and consultation with the Review Board. It met on January 17 and concluded that the allegation is credible. The Diocese says outreach efforts will be conducted in the parishes where Fr. Ritchey has served in order to invite other potential victims to identify themselves and receives assistance.

Fr. Ritchey has been a priest in the Diocese since 1973. He most recent assignment was as a Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Columbus from 1999-2006. He served as an assistant at St. Philip the Apostle Parish and a teacher at Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus from 1973-1975; a teacher at Fisher Catholic High School in Lancaster from 1975-1982, with residence at St. Bernadette Parish from 1975-1980 and St. Mark Parish from 1980-1982. He was a Pastor at St. Mary Parish in Bremen from 1982-1993, and a Pastor at Corpus Christi Parish in Columbus from 1993-1999.

In a news release from the Catholic Diocese, it encourages anyone who may have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated with the Church to contact the diocesan Victim's Assistance Coordinator at (614) 224-2251, and notify police. Forms for reporting abuse are available in Catholic parish and school offices and can be accessed from the diocesan website


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