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St. Ignatius parents feel betrayed by Archdiocese of Cincinnati's failure to warn about priest

Posted at 1:37 AM, Aug 01, 2019

GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Erin Grause and Teresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann’s disappointment isn’t with St. Ignatius of Loyola School, they said Thursday night. It isn’t with the St. Ignatius parish, where both have attended church and volunteered with parish programs for years.

It’s with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which allowed the Rev. Geoff Drew to come to St. Ignatius without informing parishioners he was being monitored for questionable behavior in his last community.

“I think I speak for almost everyone here when I say (I’m) angry and mad,” Grause said.

Drew was suspended July 23. Parishioners would not learn the reason until Monday, when archdiocese officials announced he had been accused of sending inappropriate texts to a male student at St. Ignatius. Parents who attended that meeting were angry, too.

St. Ignatius principal Kevin Vance told families the school hadn’t known until then, either. Staff also had not been told about Drew’s history at St. Maximilian Kolbe, where an unspecified incident or incidents led to his being observed after his transfer.

Grause and Dinwiddie-Herrmann both have children who attend St. Ignatius. They are still committed to their church and to the school, they said. But they want the archdiocese to earn their trust back.

“It's our job to take care of our children and keep them safe and bringing them to this safe place, and they failed us in transparency and many other aspects,” Dinwiddie-Herrmann said. “We need a couple more checks and balances for administration leaders that we maybe have more of our hands on moving forward.”

Archbishop Dennis Schnurr announced Wednesday that Drew will soon undergo a physical, psychological and spiritual assessment at an independent in-patient treatment facility. Schnurr said he will consider the assessment and recommendations from professionals in determining the next step in the investigation.

Schnurr has asked St. Ignatius community members to contact Mark Piepmeier at the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office to report anything “suspicious or criminal” regarding Drew.

Contact Piepmeier by calling 513-946-3078 or send an email to mark.piepmeier@hcpros.org.