Cincinnati, Ohio – A Catholic priest pleaded guilty Thursday to the crime. He raped a 10-year old altar in Cincinnati decades ago.
The Rev. Geoff Drew (59), was reported to be emotionless during his court appearance, when his victim in his 40s directly addressed him.
“The truth is no amount of time will make up for the child that you murdered,” the victim told his abuser, according to Fox 19.
“Any chance of having intimacy, any chance to actually live, love, find joy, was stolen,” the victim said. “You made me unusable, undesirable, dirty and broken, but I trust in God that this is bigger than you. It is greater than I am. He has the authority to exact vengeance. And one day you will have to stand in front of him.”
Drew received seven years imprisonment after pleading guilty for nine counts of sexual rape, from 1988 to 1991. His sentence was significantly lower than the potential 99-year term he would face if convicted on a jury. For the remainder of Drew’s life, he must register as an alleged sex offender.
Thursday’s victim testified in court that Drew was baptizing a child from a friend of his.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Leslie Ghiz said Drew had lucked out with his plea bargain, as she would have “gladly” sentenced him to life in prison if convicted.
She stated that the jury could still decide on the eternal sentence for him in the afterlife.
“This is shameful, just shameful. It’s shameful for the church, it’s shameful for you,” the judge told Drew, according to Fox 19. “I will tell you this, I believe in the afterlife. I believe God is a forgiving God, but I truly believe that he’s going to think twice when he sees you at the gates of heaven.”
Drew, a musical minister before becoming a priest, was accused of repeatedly raping the boy at St. Jude School, Green Township, Ohio. The abuse reportedly occurred after school hours in Drew’s office.
Drew became a priest in 2004 and also taught at Elder High School in West Price Hill.
Fox 19 reports that he was arrested in August 2019 and placed on administrative leave at the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Drew has now been stripped of all his ministerial duties, according to the Archdiocese.
“Father Geoff Drew will never again have a priestly assignment in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati or any other diocese,” Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr said in a prepared statement, according to Fox 19.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati admitted “serious mistakes” for its response to allegations against Drew, according to Fox 19.
Court records showed that the abuse continued throughout Drew’s career, which were expected to be detailed by the prosecution during his trial.
According to court papers, another student from St. Jude claimed that Drew had sexually assaulted him when he was twelve years old, or older.
One of the Archdiocese’s highest ranking officials, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer, resigned over his handling of sexual complaints against Drew.
After failing to report an accusation in 2013, Drew had been accused of inappropriate behavior with children. He was forced to be removed from office in 2019. His resignation was accepted by Pope Francis in May 2020.
“I am deeply sorry for my role in addressing the concerns raised about Father Drew, which has had a negative impact on the trust and faith of the people of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati,” Binzer said in a statement at the time.