Judge: Alleged 2nd victim in Rev. Geoff Drew rape case can testify, for now

Posted at 1:26 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 11:37:28-04

CINCINNATI — An alleged second victim of Rev. Geoff Drew will be allowed to testify in the priest's trial, Judge Leslie Ghiz said Tuesday.

Drew, 58, is accused of assaulting a former altar boy repeatedly from 1988 to 1991 and stands charged with nine counts of rape. New information about an alleged second victim came out during a motion hearing on Tuesday.

The Catholic priest was not in the courtroom when prosecutor Katherine Pridemore addressed Ghiz about the alleged second victim.

Pridemore said Drew was not charged with sexually assaulting the second victim because of statute of limitations. Like the first victim, the alleged second victim is a man who attended St. Jude School in Green Township at the same time as the first victim, according to Pridemore.

Pridemore said both boys were under the age of 13 when the alleged abuse occurred, and Drew groomed and abused both boys in "remarkably similar" ways. Pridemore argued the second alleged victim's testimony should fall under the category of “character evidence” because Drew’s behavior was all part of “one big plan” to groom and abuse children.

MORE: Police execute search warrants on churches in Rev. Geoff Drew case

Drew’s defense attorney, Brandon Moermond, said the state shouldn’t be able to include the other alleged victim because it’s not the same case.

Moermond also argued the state should not be allowed to include testimony of witnesses who claimed Drew made them uncomfortable by rubbing their shoulders and texting them.

"If the state brings in these witnesses, then the defense has to bring in witnesses to combat those witnesses, which is creating a trial within a trial within a trial," Moermond said. "Which is why we need to limit the evidence in this case to the allegations (made by one alleged victim)."

Although Ghiz ruled Tuesday the alleged second victim can testify, she said this could change after she reviews additional records.

On Tuesday, Pridemore told Ghiz that prosecutors plan to call six witnesses who can testify about Drew's conduct with underage boys during the time period the priest is accused of rape.

The witnesses and their accounts of Drew's conduct are mentioned in a March 13 court filing by prosecutors.

Those witnesses include:

- Witness J, a 'clergyman' who served at a local parish from 1987 through 1992. This witness claimed he saw Drew "engaged in grooming behavior by rubbing on young children," according to the prosecution's court filing. Witness J also said he saw Drew "loading a station wagon with four to five minor boys." Drew told Witness J he was taking the boys on a vacation to Chicago, according to the state's court filing.

- Witness L, a former student at Elder High School in the late 1980s. This witness said Drew touched and rubbed him in an inappropriate way. He also said Drew took 15-year-old boys on a vacation to Chicago in 1988 or 1989. Witness L claimed Drew allowed the boys to drink alcohol during the trip and permitted one boy to order "soft porn" on the only television in their hotel room, according to the state's court filing.

On Tuesday, Moermond argued against allowing the testimony of those witnesses because it may convince the jury that "if Drew acted inappropriate or creepy" toward them, he "probably did this" (the alleged sexual assaults).

Ghiz also ruled that those additional witnesses can testify about Drew's conduct.

Drew’s trial is scheduled for April 26 and could take up to two weeks. Drew is being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center on a $5 million bond.

Drew's complete career history is as follows, per the archdiocese. Some assignments overlap.

  • Music teacher at Elder High School — 1983-1990
  • Music minister at St. Jude Parish — 1984-1999
  • Mount St. Mary's Seminar of the West — 1999-2004
  • Internship year at St. Anthony Madisonville — 2001-2002
  • Ordained a priest of the archdiocese — 2004
  • Parochial vicar at St. Luke Beavercreek — July 1, 2004-June 30, 2005
  • Pastor of St. Rita Dayton — July 1, 2005-June 30, 2009
  • Pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe — July 1, 2009-June 30, 2018
  • Pastor of St. Ignatius of Loyola — July 1, 2018-July 23, 2019