Diocese of Steubenville Suspends Priest, Says He Admitted Sex Abuse

The Intellegencer
October 30, 2018

A priest who served multiple areas of East Ohio is suspended from the ministry after he admitted to sexual contact with and abuse of a minor, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville.

Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton revoked all ministerial faculties from the Rev. Christopher Foxhoven, 45, and suspended him from priestly ministry on Saturday. The diocese said Monforton took the action as soon as he learned Foxhoven had admitted the offenses.

Foxhoven most recently served as pastor of St. Mary of the Hills Parish in Buchtel, Ohio, and of Holy Cross Parish in Glouster, Ohio. Glouster is located in Athens County, while Buchtel is situated in both Athens and Hocking counties. Published reports indicate that at other points during Foxhoven’s career, he served Catholics in Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison and Monroe counties. He is listed as the celebrant for funerals that occurred in the St. Clairsville area in 2006 and 2007. He also participated in religious rites in Amsterdam in Jefferson County in 2009 and in Wintersville in 2010.

Past newspaper reports list him as the parochial vicar of the Basilica of St. Mary in Marietta, Ohio, in 2013. A parochial vicar is a priest who serves as an agent of or assistant to the parish pastor. The pastor, from the Latin for shepherd, is the priest who is the main spiritual leader of a parish.

According to Saint Vincent Seminary, Foxhoven was one of 15 seminarians installed in the Ministry of Acolyte on Nov. 5, 2001, during a ceremony in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. That information states that Foxhoven is the son of Henry F. and Arlene M. Foxhoven, of Bloomingdale, Ohio.

He attended Harlan Community High School in Harlan, Iowa, and graduated in 1994 from Our Lady of the Rosary Home-School. He received a bachelor of arts degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1999.

Dino Orsatti, director of communications for the Diocese of Steubenville, provided a news release regarding Foxhoven’s suspension. When contacted by phone, Orsatti confirmed that Foxhoven had served as parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wintersville; however, Orsatti said he did not know when that service occurred or for how long Foxhoven worked in the local area.

“Father Foxhoven cannot exercise any sacred ministry or perform any ecclesiastical function, dress in clerical garb, or present himself as a priest,” Monforton said in the news release.

It also states that upon learning of the offenses, diocesan attorney Thomas Wilson immediately filed a report with the Athens County Sheriff’s Department, where Foxhoven reportedly said the abuse occurred. A dispatcher with the department declined to comment Monday and referred questions to Sheriff Rodney Smith, who was not available Monday evening.

“We must remain vigilant in assisting victims of sexual abuse,” Monforton added. “We will cooperate with authorities and assist in their investigation of this case.”

The release also states that in accordance with the Essential Norms and the Diocese of Steubenville’s Decree on Child Protection, Foxhoven may not reside at the parish rectory or within the boundaries of those parishes.

Orsatti did say Monday that the Diocese of Steubenville plans to release a list of priests who have been removed from its parishes because of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations. The decision to compile and share the list with the public followed a Pennsylvania grand jury report that included names of more than 300 priests accused of sexual abuse. Orsatti previously said diocesan officials and attorneys would review files dating back to the formation of the diocese in 1944, and he estimated the list would include 12-20 names.

The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops approved a zero-tolerance policy called the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002. The policy requires dioceses to alert authorities when they learn of abuse allegations. Dioceses also must remove accused priests from their duties while completing their own investigations of such allegations.


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