Van Wert Pastor Resigns Post

Toledo Blade [Van Wert OH]
January 28, 2007

Parishioners at St. Mary of the Assumption Church here were to learn at Masses this weekend that the Rev. Joseph Schmelzer resigned his position as pastor at the request of Toledo Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Leonard Blair.

The announcement comes after a communication to Bishop Blair from the Vatican and affirms Father Schmelzer's removal from public ministry, said Sally Oberski, spokesman for the Toledo diocese.

Letters from Bishop Blair and Father Schmelzer were read to parishioners, Ms. Oberski said.

Father Schmelzer was barred from public ministry in 2003 after Jon Schoonmaker alleged that he was a teenager when the priest abused him. Father Schmelzer appealed to the Vatican.

Mr. Schoonmaker notified the diocese in 1992 that when he was 16, about nine years earlier, Father Schmelzer began touching him sexually.

In November, the Ohio Board of Education revoked Father Schmelzer's teaching license. He had been superintendent of St. Mary of the Assumption School.

Father Schmelzer was still listed last night as pastor on St. Mary's Web site, with Deacon Andrew McMahon listed as "pastoral leader in Fr. Schmelzer's absence."

Father Schmelzer became pastor in 1996, according to the Web site. While he has been barred from public ministry, Father Schmelzer has not been laicized and so "technically remains a priest," Ms. Oberski said.


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