August 9, 2019
Dear Friends in Christ,
You have likely seen the news that Father Geoff Drew, former pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish (Monfort Heights), was placed on a leave of absence effective July 23. We have made mistakes in our handling of this matter, and for that I am deeply sorry. This week, I have made changes in both personnel and allegation-handling procedures to ensure that these mistakes never happen again.
The decision to remove Fr. Drew as pastor of St. Ignatius was taken because of reports that he had engaged in a pattern of “grooming” behavior in violation of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Decree on Child Protection. Although the archdiocesan chancery office has received no allegations or evidence of criminal behavior relative to Father Drew, consistent with archdiocesan standard procedure in such matters, all information we received was promptly reported to the civil authorities.
Naturally, there have been many questions surrounding this incident. In an effort to address these questions, we have created an online resource where you can read the full timeline of events that led to the decision to place Father Drew on a leave of absence. You can also find additional information about where Father Drew has served in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the next steps for Father Drew moving forward, and information on what will occur regarding new pastoral leadership for St. Ignatius Parish.
As your archbishop, I want you to know that I am acutely aware of the pain and distress that you rightfully feel due to the events of these past weeks. The protection of young people is of paramount importance and cannot be compromised. If you suspect abuse on the part of any agent of the Archdiocese, please report it to the appropriate civil authorities, as well as to the Coordinator of Ministry to Survivors of Abuse in the Archdiocese at 513-263-6623 or 1-800-686-2724, ext. 6623. If you see something, please say something.
In this very difficult and stressful time, let us turn to the Blessed Virgin Mary for her intercession and to the Holy Spirit for guidance and consolation. May God bless and keep you.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati