Group advocates for changes to state law amid Father Drew guilty plea

Father Geoff Drew pleads guilty to raping an altar boy
Posted at 12:19 AM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 11:43:36-05

CINCINNATI — While Father Geoff Drew pleaded guilty to the rape of an altar boy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, one group said his case highlights the need to change state law.

Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati said state law is outdated when it comes to reporting sexual assault, preventing some victims from getting justice.

"The second victim in this case did not get the opportunity to have their own trial with Drew," Teresa Dinwiddlie-Herrmann said.

In Ohio, survivors of rape have 20 years after the crime takes place to seek legal action. Dinwiddlie-Herrmann said one of the victims was unable to participate because of the statute of limitations.

"Ohio is behind," Dinwiddlie-Herrmann said. "We just need to jump on board and get rid of this statute of limitations and allow a victim to come forward when they are ready."

The group began advocating for survivors of sexual assault after the arrest of Rev. Geoff Drew two years ago. While he entered a guilty plea Thursday, they said their work continues.

Concerned Catholics of Cincinnati said the law suppresses stories of survivors who may have been waiting to report their abuse.

"Someone should be able to report their abuse when they're ready," Dinwiddlie-Herrmann said.

Because there are more cases similar to Drew's, Dinwiddlie-Herrmann said, they also believe more people should be held accountable.

"I think it is time very much institutions [are] held accountable institutions, not just the church," Dinwiddlie-Herrmann said. "There are others that we have seen as well that have allowed the cycle of abuse to continue because they don't take action."

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