Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Priest Placed on Leave after Being Accused of Molesting Minor

By Michael O'Malley
Plain Dealer
September 10, 2011

A priest of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has been placed on leave following a court complaint that he molested a minor in the late 1970s.

The Rev. Matthew Ischay, 62, associate pastor of St. Paul Catholic Church in Akron, was accused in a civil action filed last month in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, said diocese spokesman Robert Tayek. The lawsuit could not be immediately obtained, so it is not known where Ischay was working when the alleged incident occurred.

Ischay was placed on leave early this month, and St. Paul members learned of the accusation from a diocesan letter read during Masses last weekend.

"While on administrative leave, Father Ischay will not be permitted to engage in any form of priestly ministry, wear clerical attire or reside on parish property," according to a statement issued by the diocese on its website.

Tayek said he did not know where the priest is now living.

Tayek said a diocesan board that reviews sexual allegations against clerics recommended Ischay be placed on leave while the board determines whether the charges against him are credible.

If they are credible, he could face permanent dismissal from the priesthood.

Ischay was pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in Cleveland from 1987 until its closing in April 2010. He then went to the Akron church.

A national organization, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a statement Friday saying, "We urge anyone who has knowledge or has been harmed by Ischay to please contact police.

"Do not report your abuse to the diocese church leaders," the statement said. "They are not the proper officials to be investigating crimes against children."

Tayek said he was puzzled by the statement, because the diocese, he said, as a matter of procedure, alerts civil authorities when a priest is accused of sexual abuse.

"That's an organization that has total distrust of the church," he said. "I don't know where they're coming from."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.