No Charges Filed against Former Priest

By Kathy Thompson
Zanesville Times Recorder
July 17, 2012|head

ZANESVILLE -- Zanesville Police Chief Eric Lambes said his office will not be investigating decades-old abuse allegations against a former priest.

Lambes said the right decision was made when police told a representative of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus an abuse accusation against the priest happened too long ago.

Father Thomas Brosmer was placed on administrative leave Thursday by the diocese after an accusation of sexual abuse of an 11-year-old boy in 1968 surfaced. The abuse is alleged to have taken place at St. Nicholas Parish in Zanesville. Brosmer was at the church from 1969 to 1973 as an assistant pastor and a teacher. Brosmer most recently was at St. Cecilia Church in Columbus from 2004 until his administrative leave.

Diocese attorney Paul Ritter called the police department on July 5.

Ritter said he first had called Muskingum County Children Service, but was referred to the police department because the case was so old.

"When the call came in, the dispatcher asked a supervisor what action she should take," Lambes said. "Lt. Chris Rice told her there was no point in running an investigation into the act since it happened so long ago and the statute of limitations had run. We weren't going to go the full gamut on something when we can't charge someone with a crime."

Lambes said there would be no follow-up from his department as the case can't be prosecuted.

"It was a good decision by Rice," Lambes said. "There is no sense in wasting our resources when we have no way to prosecute."

Muskingum County Prosecutor Michael Haddox said he understands why the police department didn't pursue an investigation.

"Right now, as far as I know, we don't have a victim," Haddox said. "We have the church making a call to report this, but not a victim."

Ritter said the bishop will be making a decision about exactly what steps will be taken regarding Brosmer.

The bishop could recommend anything from administrative leave to requesting to have Brosmer removed from the church, Ritter said. Right now, Brosmer is not allowed to engage in any pastoral duties while on administrative leave.

This is the first specific allegation of this type that has been made against Brosmer, said George Jones, diocese director of communications.

Ritter is encouraging anyone who might have been abused by Brosmer to step forward.

"We take these allegations very seriously," Ritter said. "The church doesn't care how long ago the incident may have occurred. We need to know."



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