Judge Keeps $5 Million Bond for Priest Accused of Raping Altar Boy
By Kevin Grasha
October 9, 2019
A Hamilton County judge on Wednesday said bond for a priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago will stay at $5 million.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz said her primary concern is that the Rev. Geoff Drew is a flight risk.
"Your client is charged with anally and orally raping a…child," Ghiz told Drew's attorney, Brandon Moermond. She added: "I'm more concerned about him fleeing, than anything else."
Drew was not in the courtroom for the hearing. He is being held at the Hamilton County jail.
In August, Moermond filed a motion to modify Drew's bond. Among his arguments was that Drew is a priest, has no criminal history, and has "extensive family in the area, including his ailing mother, his siblings and close family friends."
Moermond also said Drew's case has been handled differently than others because of media coverage. In his motion, Moermond said Ghiz had set Drew's $5 million bond at a hearing “in front of no less than six television reporters and cameras."
Ghiz rejected that argument.
"Please don't ever accuse this court of doing anything because cameras are involved," she said.
Drew, 57, has pleaded not guilty to nine counts of rape.
|The Rev. Geoff Drew during an arraignment Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at the Hamilton County Courthouse. Judge Leslie Ghiz set bond at $5 million Wednesday for the priest accused of raping an altar boy 30 years ago. (Photo: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer)|
Ghiz also pointed out that in Moermond's motion, he mentioned that Drew had been investigated within the last year in both Montgomery and Butler counties. Moermond mentioned those investigations to emphasize that authorities "found absolutely no criminal activity for which to charge him."
But Ghiz said she hadn't been aware of allegations in other counties, which she said raised concern.
The Hamilton County charges all involve accusations by a former altar boy, who was 10 years old when he said the alleged sexual assaults began in 1988. Drew's accuser, now in his early 40s, told prosecutors it occurred after school hours in Drew's office at St. Jude in Bridgetown.
At the time, Drew worked for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati as a music minister at St. Jude and as a music teacher at Elder High School. He was not a priest then, but he entered the seminary in 1999 and was ordained a priest in 2004.