When a Hamilton County grand jury indicted the Rev. Geoff Drew on nine charges of rape in August, it was the first time in nearly a decade that a Tri-State priest had been charged with the sexual abuse of a child.
Survivors say Drew’s arrest brought back memories of their own abuse from decades ago and a renewed distrust of Catholic Church leaders who had promised change and transparency.
Questions re-emerged about how church leaders handle these accusations — almost exactly 16 years after a judge convicted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati of failing to report sexually abusive priests for the first time anywhere in the nation.
The WCPO I-Team launched a three-month investigation to determine how the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, the Diocese of Covington and Catholic religious orders track, monitor and safeguard the public against priests and brothers who have been accused of child sexual assault.
The I-Team discovered a disturbing pattern in which local Catholic Church officials failed to track priests accused of abuse, didn’t disclose to the public all of the names of priests with credible allegations, and still refuse to answer questions about why more information isn’t available.
Some may accuse us of revisiting accusations from decades ago that were painful to Catholics. But our motives are simple: to ensure that the public has more complete information on priests who have been credibly accused of child sexual assault than local Catholic Church leaders had been willing to provide.
Using 60 years of national Catholic directories, WCPO compiled a list of 92 priests and religious brothers who prosecutors, the Vatican or civil litigation had accused of sexual abuse. WCPO set out to create the most complete list ever published using the following criteria:
- Have they lived or worked in the Diocese of Covington or Archdiocese of Cincinnati at any point in their careers?
- Are they on the credibly accused list of a Catholic diocese or religious order in the United States? Each diocese determines what the term ‘credibly accused’ means. In the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, it means an accusation of abuse is more likely true than not after the archdiocese investigates and reviews the facts.
- Are they listed as a defendant or is their alleged abuse described in civil or criminal court records?
- Are they named in media accounts which document their alleged abuse?
- The public may search our data to discover where these priests and brothers worked, what allegations they faced and what happened to them after they were accused.
Readers can explore our data using three interactive tools.
Read more at WCPO
- Overview: What did WCPO I-Team find in investigation into sexual abuse in Catholic Church?
- Part 1: Could priests with credible accusations of sexual abuse be walking among us – without our knowledge?
- Part 2: Does Catholic Church move priests with credible accuse claims to keep them hidden?
- Part 3: Abuse survivors say statute of limitations keeps priests and the church from taking responsibility
- Part 4: These priests, credibly accused of child sexual abuse, still live quietly in the Tri-State