Priest Put on Leave after Claim of Sexual Abuse
By Jeb Phillips
July 13, 2012
The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has placed a long-serving priest on administrative leave after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Rev. Thomas J. Brosmer, most recently the associate pastor of St. Cecilia Church on the Far West Side, will be on leave during an investigation by the diocese, the diocese announced yesterday.
Brosmer, 68, has been a priest of the diocese since 1969. The sexual abuse is alleged to have occurred while he was at St. Nicholas Parish in Zanesville from 1969 to 1973. Brosmer was also a teacher at Bishop Rosecrans High School then, according to yesterday’s news release.
The diocese’s Chancery Office received the accusation on July 2 and reported it to Zanesville police, the diocese’s victims’ assistance coordinator and the Board of Review for the Protection of Children.
The review board met on July 5 and decided that the allegation was credible and required further investigation. Bishop Frederick F. Campbell formally notified Brosmer that day of the allegation and of the steps the church would take.
The board’s finding of credibility is not the same as a finding of guilt, according to the news release. A diocese spokesman declined by email to provide information other than what was in the release.
This is the first “specific allegation of this nature” against Brosmer the diocese has received, according to the release.
Capt. Tony Coury, the operations commander for Zanesville police, said yesterday that he was not aware of any report or investigation concerning Brosmer. Muskingum County Prosecutor Michael Haddox said he had not heard of an investigation, either.
Haddox said that Ohio’s statute of limitations would prevent the prosecution of such an old abuse allegation. Current law says a prosecution must begin within 20?years of an offense; the statute in 1973 would have had an even shorter time frame, Haddox said.
The diocese said it plans to conduct outreach in other areas where Brosmer has served to see if other people come forward.
Brosmer’s other assignments have included Immaculate Conception Church in Dennison and Central Catholic High School in New Philadelphia from 1973 to 1976; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Grove City and Bishop Ready High School on the Hilltop from 1976 to 1979; St. Agnes Parish on the Hilltop from 1979 to 1986; St. Matthew Church in Gahanna from 1986 to 1990; St. Philip the Apostle Church on the East Side from 1990 to 1993; St. Brendan Church in Hilliard from 1993 to 2000; and St. Michael Church in Worthington from 2000 to 2004.
The diocese encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse associated with the church to contact the victims’ assistance coordinator at 614-224-2251, 1-866-448-0217 or firstname.lastname@example.org