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Columbus Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Diocese of ColumbusMany faithful parishioners are drawn to the Roman Catholic Church to find purpose in their life and seek forgiveness for their misdeeds. The members of the congregation follow the Church’s edicts when raising their children to build a strong community through the guidance of religious leaders. Unfortunately, many clergy members use their authority given by the Catholic Church to molest children and young people.

Diocese of Columbus Sexual Assault Lawyers

The compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC serve the community as legal advocates for victims of child sex abuse. We represent Ohio clients in all counties associated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus. These counties include Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Hardin, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Licking, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Union, and Vinton.

If you, or your loved one, are the victim of Catholic clergy abuse, let our team of attorneys listen to your horrific story and provide immediate legal counsel on how to proceed. We will conduct a review of the available facts with you in a confidential setting to ensure you remain safe while discussing your claim. We will stand on your behalf and fight back against the strength of the Catholic Church and Diocese to ensure you receive the justice you deserve.

New Changes in How the Vatican Handles Child Sexual Abuse

In 2019, the Vatican, through the guidance of Pope Francis, announced significant changes the Church was making when dealing with predatory priests who had credible allegations of sexual abuse involving minors. The changes in Catholicism abolished the pontifical secrecy of hiding evidence from civil authorities to ensure that clergy abusers were held legally accountable.

The modifications in Catholic policies prohibit forcing others to remain silent in cases involving sexual molestation of minors. Instead, cardinals and bishops now release the names of religious leaders facing allegations of cleric sexual abuse.

The papal rules raised the age of consensual sex between religious leaders and minors from fourteen years of age to eighteen. Additionally, the Church now imposes a “zero-tolerance” on inappropriate behavior by child abusers. These changes will likely reduce the cases involving priestly sexual abuse against children.

Diocese of Columbus Settles Clergy Abuse Cases from Decades Ago

In March 2016, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus reached a negotiated financial settlement with the sexual abuse survivor who said that a priest sexually assaulted him years ago when he was at a parochial High School. The victim was sixteen years old when Father Ronald Atwood allegedly assaulted him in 1975.

Three years earlier, in July 2013, Church officials removed Reverend Atwood the day after the Columbus Diocese was informed that he was involved in the sexual abuse of a minor decades ago. In response, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on Church officials to reveal the names of priests any time sexual assault survivors stepped forward. The advocate organization argued that Church officials either knew Atwood was a sexual predator years earlier or should have known.

During Atwood’s career, he worked for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, beginning in 1969. He was assigned to Saint Aloysius Parish from 1969 to 1972, and at Bishop Ready High School until 1977. Church officials at the Diocese were seeking to defrock (laicized – remove from the priesthood) Atwood because of his sexual misconduct. Meanwhile, the priest, who had worked for the Diocese since 1969, remained on administrative leave without access to parishioners. The Church was determining if any other sexual assault survivor was seeking to come forward to tell his or her story.

Another Horrific Case

Before this sexual molestation survivor came forward, the Roman Catholic Knights of Columbus was named in another civil lawsuit filed by two adult males who said that they were victims of sexual molestation as minors. One victim stated that his molester was a youth group leader who was part of the Church’s fraternal organization.

That lawsuit alleges that the officials at the Knights of Columbus were aware that one among them was a sexual molester of minors but failed to take any action to stop him. The plaintiffs’ attorney stated that the men suffered in silence for decades before seeking help. Before the lawsuit, the fraternal organization never revealed any credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

In cases involving a credible allegation of sexual abuse of minors, Church officials must take immediate action for the protection of children in their congregation. They are required to contact the Columbus Police Department, turn over all evidence, and allow the task force to begin an immediate investigation to ensure the safety of our children.

At the least, the Church must provide a list of names of clergy with a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. Typically, the Diocese’s list will identify religious leaders who have worked for the Church in the community who have been charged or accused of sexual misconduct. The purposes of this list are to help identify predatory priests who were recently placed on a leave of absence or those that committed sexual assault decades ago.

Effects of Child Sexual Assault Can Last Years or Decades

Cleric sexual molestation involving minors and vulnerable adults can create long-lasting physical and emotional harm. Afterward, the victim often suffers a myriad of unhealthy conditions, including unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, physical injuries, and emotional scars.

The long-term trauma of a sexual abuse survivor injured through clergy molestation might involve ongoing depression, high anxiety, self-harming behavior, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation (thinking about suicide), and committing suicide.

Often, young children who have been sexually assaulted will experience challenges while maturing. The alleged abuse often results in the misuse of drugs and alcohol, participation in criminal behavior, sexual activity in their early teens, and burdens when developing long-lasting relationships. Many minors and young people who were sexually abused have an increased risk of being sexually exploited.

Often, a sexual predator will share their victim with other cleric sexual abusers for their gratification. Not long ago, some sexual abuse victims’ parents would not believe their children who would speak of the sexual misconduct of a priest or deacon. These parents often neglected to protect their children and might lash out to ensure the boy or girl did not tell others what happened.

In recent years, the victim’s parents, witnesses, friends, and other family members feel free to speak out as their moral obligation. They will notify civil authorities and child social services to ensure the victim is protected from further abuse.

Today, any sexual abuse survivor or others can file a report of the incident of molestation to the Ohio Child Protective Services to ensure they receive an immediate response. You can also call (855) 642-4453 to make contact with the county’s local law enforcement office or child welfare department.

Columbus Dioceses Sexual Abuse Attorneys Can Help

If you, or your loved one, are the victim of sexual molestation and harmed by a Diocese of Columbus religious leader, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help. Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a no-obligation free case evaluation. Our team of dedicated sexual abuse injury attorneys can review the merits of your case.

We can discuss all your legal options in a confidential setting to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve. Recent changes in the Ohio statute of limitation law provides new opportunities for every plaintiff filing a claim against the Roman Catholic Church, even if the case happened decades ago.

Our team of lawyers handle cases where the clergy abuser’s current status is in “active ministry,” on administrative leave, has been removed from the priesthood, whereabouts unknown, has received previous accusations, retired, was transferred to another parish or state, or is deceased.

List of Clergy Abusers in the Diocese of Columbus

Atwood, Ronald J.

Ordained: 1969
In July 2013, church officials removed Father Ronald J. Atwood’s faculties to minister to the congregation after accusations arose that he sexually molested an innocent victim between 1976 and 1979. The alleged incidents of sexual molestation took place at Saint Stephen the Martyr Parish, Bishop Ready High School, and St. Peter Parish in Columbus. Police conducted an investigation. In 1999, law enforcement arrested and charged Reverend Atwood in a public park with public indecency. In 2000, Atwood pled no contest and paid the fine on a charge of urinating on a tree. In March 2016, documents revealed the names of clergymen, including Atwood, identified in civil lawsuits that were part of arbitration awards or negotiated settlements. Atwood was accused of sexually molesting an underage male between 1975 and 1980 while he worked at the Columbus, OH, Bishop Ready High School. In Fairbury 2015, Church officials settled the claim with the victim and referred the case to the Vatican.

Current Status: Died: 2016


Bellinato, Hector

Ordained: 1935
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Hector Bellinato with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim.Church documents reveal that he is “no longer in the diocese.” During his career, he was a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct


Bennett, Thomas M.

Ordained: 1957
In July 2018, ten years after Monsignor Thomas Bennett’s death, the priest was accused of sexually molesting an underage male multiple times from 2002 until 2003. At the time of the alleged sexual molestation, the male victim was a St. Charles Prep freshman. Four months later, in November 2018, a second former student stepped forward, accusing Monsignor Bennett of sexual assault in May 1981 when the alleged sexual abuse survivor was a junior at the same school. During Bennett’s career, he served as an assistant pastor at St. Joseph Cathedral (from 1957 until 1960), Columbus, OH, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish (1963 until 1964), and Columbus, OH, St. Charles Prep High School (from 1963 until 2008). Monsignor Thomas Bennett also assisted other parishes throughout Ohio. In 1978, the priest was assigned to the Columbus, OH, Saint Catherine of Siena Parish as an administrator pro tem. Between 1981 and 1982, he worked at the Johnstown, OH, Ascension Parish. From 1988 until 2008 (the year of his death), he was the Diocesan archivist.

Current Status: Died: 2008


Brosmer, Thomas J.

Ordained: 1969
In July 2012, Church officials removed Father Thomas J. Brosmer from his assignment at the Columbus, OH, Saint Cecilia Parish, after allegations arose of sexual misconduct involving an underage boy. The alleged incidents occurred between 1969 and 1973 when the victim was eleven years old, and Reverend Brosmer was assigned to the Zanesville, OH, Saint Nicholas Parish. During that time, Father Brosmer was a Bishop Rosencrans High School teacher. Church officials notified local law enforcement and their internal Review Board that found the evidence to be credible. The local District Attorney’s Office did not file criminal charges against Father Brosmer because the statute of limitations had already expired. However, the investigation conducted by the Diocese of Columbus was to continue.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct


Csaszar, James

Ordained: 1999
In November 2017, Church officials from the Diocese of Columbus placed Father James Csaszar on administrative leave. The Church stated the priest’s removal from active ministry was because of “excessive and questionable text and telephone communications with a minor and potential misuse of Church funds.” The alleged victim was sixteen years old. Police began an investigation when in December 2017, Father Csaszar committed suicide. At the time of the alleged incident involving the underage boy, the priest served the Roman Catholic Church as the New Albany, OH Resurrection Parish pastor. Previously, he had worked as the New Lexington, OH Saint Rose Parish pastor. In April 2018, law enforcement investigators stated that Father Csaszar had left a suicide note denying he had sexual contact with any adult or child. The alleged young male victim denied he had a sexual relationship but did report he felt that Father Csaszar had threatened and manipulated him. The Diocese of Columbus revealed that Csaszar exchanged text messages that contained a nude photograph of the underage male.

Current Status: Committed suicide when an investigation began


Ellifritz, Michael

Ordained: 1967
In 2002, Father Michael Ellifritz retired from active ministry due to “health reasons.” Reverend Ellifritz admitted to his improper sexual contact with an underage male. The alleged incidents of sexual molestation occurred during the late 1970s into the early 1980s. Church documents reveal that the Diocese of Columbus was aware of the accusations for some time and had kept the priest under supervision for years. In February 2005, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Ellifritz.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Emmert, Roger

Ordained: 1962
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Roger Emmert with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim.

Current Status: Deceased


Fete, Joseph N.

Ordained: 1974
Monsignor Joseph N. Fete faced accusations that he sexually molested an underage male for four years between 1976 and 1979. When the Diocese of Columbus received a report from the accuser, Reverend Fete acknowledged he maintained an active “relationship” with this apparent victim in 1999. Church officials from the Diocese agreed to a negotiated out-of-court settlement in 1999 to resolve the case. In April 2002, the Church removed Fete’s pastoral duties. In either 2005 or 2006, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Fete . His name appears on the March 2019 Columbus Diocese list.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


France-Kelly, Kenneth

Ordained: 1981
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Kenneth France-Kelly with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Before Reverend France-Kelly was ordained into the Roman Catholic Church, he taught in the Washington DC public school system between 1968 and 1975 at the Eastern Senior High School. During his career, he was assigned to numerous positions in the Church in Louisville, Kentucky, Jersey City, New Jersey, Washington DC, Columbus, Ohio, New York City, New York, Nairobi, Kenya, and Youngstown, Ohio. France-Kelly’s name appears on the 2018 Dominicans St. Joseph Province List. The list revealed he had been removed from public ministry in 2008 due to accusations involving sexual misconduct occurring in 1975 that were found to be credible. The alleged incidents of molestation occurred before he was ordained.

Current Status: Died: 2015


Gamba, John Joseph

Ordained: 1942
In 2019, the Diocesan Order publicly named Father John Joseph Gamba with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Italy-native Father John Joseph Gamba Worked for the Diocese of Columbus starting in the 1950s before his ordination into the Dominican Order in Italy. In 1985, he retired from active ministry.

Current Status: Died: 2009


Geiger, John A.

Ordained: 1957
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father John A. Geiger with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The allegations of sexual misconduct were reported after Reverend “Buddy”  Geiger‘s death in 1995. His online posted eulogy revealed that the priest served as the Diocese of Columbus newspaper editor, teacher, and church pastor. The eulogy alluded to the Reverend’s “struggle of the past nine years.” The Columbus Diocese Bishop extended an offer to assist Father “Gus” Geiger, which he resisted. After his refusal for help, Church officials suspended Geiger from his position. The suspension was lifted one day before the priest died of cancer at his request.

Current Status: Died: 1995


Hanrahan, Michael F.

Ordained: 1971
In 1993, Father Michael F. Hanrahan pled guilty to sexually assaulting an underage male between 1983 and 1984. In 1993, Reverend Hanrahan resigned from his position. The priest avoided prosecution of other charges that involved the victim’s older brothers. At least one male filed a civil lawsuit against Father Hanrahan and the Diocese of Columbus. The court ordered Church officials to produce the Reverend’s secret archive documents. Instead, the Columbus Diocese settled the case out of court and never produced the information. In 1998, the court ruled that a procedural mistake occurred and that the Reverend would no longer have to register as a sexual predator. In the early 1990s, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Hanrahan. The priest’s name appears on the March 2019 Diocese of Columbus list.

Current Status: Deceased


Hayden, Robert E. “Paul”

Ordained: ?
In 1986, the Ohio court system sentenced Brother Robert E. “Paul” Hayden (Brother Declan) to a year in prison for the sexual assault of developmentally disabled men residing in a group home. One of his alleged victims contracted AIDS and died. In 1993, the names of Reverend Hayden and Brother Fintan Shaffer appeared in a filed civil lawsuit accusing the two of sexual abuse. The lawsuit also named the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd Order and other religious leaders as defendants. The Order ran the group home. In 1997, the Order and Diocese of Columbus settled the case out of court. The victim’s mother stated she was donating the proceeds of the settlement to a charity to assist other sexual assault survivors.

Current Status: Deceased


Heimann, David

Ordained: 1958
The Roman Catholic church dismissed Father David Heimann after finding out the priest ran a sex ring involving high school males. Between 1958 and 1961, Reverend Heimann was assigned to the Columbus, OH, Pontifical College Josepinum Seminary. Church records indicate that the priest ordered his victims to take off their clothes and look at themselves in mirrors. The priest would tell them how good their bodies looked and that Jesus loved them and their bodies. In 1963, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Heimann. The priest’s name appears on the March 2019 Diocese of Columbus list.

Current Status: Deceased


Hoffman, Louis E.

Ordained: 1943
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Louis E. Hoffman with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The allegations of sexual molestation involving Reverend Hoffman were revealed after his death.

Current Status: Deceased


Hunt, Robert

Ordained: 1954
In 2019, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Robert Hunt with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Reverend Hunt was a member of the Order of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.

Current Status: Deceased


Hutson, James

Ordained: 1982
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Deacon James Hutson with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim.

Current Status: Deceased


Jacobs, Philip J.

Ordained: 1974
In 1993, Church officials from the Diocese of Columbus removed Father Philip J. Jacobs from active ministry after receiving reports that he sexually molested up to ten underage minors. The Church sent Reverend Jacobs for treatment before reassigning him to work for the Diocese of Victoria in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2002, the Victoria Diocese removed Father Jacobs from active ministry after receiving news of the accusations of sexual misconduct from Ohio. Some reports indicate that Jacobs then worked in a “non-Church” job in Europe. In August 2010, the Victoria, British Columbia law enforcement arrested Reverend Jacobs while getting off a plane arriving from San Francisco, California. Canadian law enforcement charged Jacobs with sexual molestation, sexual interference, and sexual exploitation of minors who were thirteen years or younger. In February 2013, a jury of his peers found Father Jacobs guilty of inappropriate sexual touching involving an underage male. The court sentenced Jacobs to two years of probation, followed by five months of conditional sentencing in September 2013. Jacobs must register as a sex offender. His name remains on the March 2019 Diocese of Columbus list. The Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Jacobs.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Keane, Timothy

Ordained: 1950
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Timothy Keane with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Church documents reveal that Keane no longer ministered to the congregation.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct


Lavelle, Raymond E.

Ordained: 1957
In September 2013, the Diocese of Columbus received a report on allegations that Father Raymond E. Lavelle had sexually assaulted an underage child from 1971 until 1980. At the time of the alleged assault, Reverend Lavelle served the congregation at the Hilltop, OH Saint Agnes Parish as its pastor. The Church assigned the priest to multiple schools and parishes throughout his career. The Columbus Diocese Review Board found the allegations against Father Lavelle to be credible. The Board recommended further investigation into the allegations. In 2013, Lavelle resided in an extended care nursing home.

Current Status: Died: 2015


Loyd, Frederick A.

Ordained: 1970
In November 2008, the Diocese of Columbus received a report accusing Father Frederick Loyd of sexually molesting an underage male. The assault against a fifteen-year-old allegedly lasted for two years, starting in 1985. During that time, Reverend Loyd ministered to the congregation at the Newark, Ohio St. Francis de Sales Parish. The Columbus Bishop ordered the priest not to minister to the public while the investigation was ongoing. In December 2000 a, the Columbus Diocese Review Board found the allegations against Reverend Loyd to be credible. The Bishop started the process to permanently remove Loyd from active ministry. In 2004, he received his last assignment but retired two years later. His name appears on the March 2019 Diocese of Columbus list. The Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Loyd.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Luchi, Robert H.

Ordained: 1957
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Robert H. Luchi with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim.

Current Status: Died: 2017


Lutz, Kevin

Ordained: 1978
In September 2019, the Diocese of Columbus placed Father Kevin Lutz on administrative leave after allegations arose that the priest sexually molested an underage boy in 1984. At the time of the alleged assault of the fourteen-year-old, Reverend Lutz was assigned to the Grandview, Ohio Saint Christopher’s Parish. Days before Church officials suspended Lutz from active ministry, he retired.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


McClory, Bernard J.

Ordained: 1953
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Bernard J. McClory with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. In 1997, Reverend McClory retired from active ministry. During his career, he “served on a number of diocesan boards, committees and commissions.”

Current Status: Died: 2015


McLaughlin, Thomas L.

Ordained: 1956
In 1989, Father Thomas L. McLaughlin received an eighteen month prison sentence for sexually assaulting an underage minor. Reverend Thomas McLaughlin pled guilty to assaulting the twelve-year-old boy. However, the court dismissed the charges involving six other underage males. McLaughlin was at Hocking Correctional Facility for one year. After his release from incarceration in 1990, he requested to be laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood). In 1992, the Diocese of Columbus settled a civil lawsuit involving two of McLaughlin’s victims.

Current Status: Died: 2013


Ritchey, Samuel E.

Ordained: 1973
In September 2019, Father Samuel E. Ritchey faced accusations that he sexually assaulted a minor in 1977. The Diocese of Columbus Review Board deemed the allegations against Reverend Ritchey to be credible. Church officials then placed Ritchey on administrative leave. In February 2006, a former senior high school student accused Father Ritchey of plying him with alcohol and drugs in 1978 while attempting to molest him. In November of that year, the state revoked Reverend Ritchey’s teaching certificate. A decade later, in 2016, an alleged victim spoke publicly about Father Ritchey’s inappropriate sexual behavior. The man talked about being molested by the priest in 1974 when he was sixteen years old. The alleged sexual abuse survivor said he asked the Reverend how many other minors he had sexually assaulted. Ritchey responded, “I have several ‘special friends’ from my Parish.” The victim was introduced to Reverend Ritchey years earlier by his second cousin, the newly ordained Father Nienstedt, who would later become the Bishop for the Diocese of Columbus. Reportedly, Nienstedt knew of Ritchey’s inappropriate sexual conduct but chose to do nothing. Documents in the March 2019 Diocese of Columbus list revealed that the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Ritchey.

Current Status: Deceased


Schaefer, Francis R.

Ordained: 1955
In 1962, Father Francis R. Schaefer faced accusations that he sexually molested six underage males at a parish. Four years later, the victim’s families spoke with Monsignor Applegate. The monsignor promised to get Reverend Schaefer the help he needed. However, the Church took no action except to reassign Father Schaefer to a new location. In 1970, the Diocese of Columbus Bishop was informed of the priest’s inappropriate sexual conduct but still took no action. By 1970, the Church reassigned Reverend Schaefer to a new parish. When there, the priest allegedly sexually molested again between 1970 and 1975. In 1993, two civil lawsuits were filed by victims. His name is found on the March 2019 Columbus Diocese list.

Current Status: Deceased


Schilder, David

Ordained: 1968
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father David Schilder with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. In 2004, Church officials from the Diocese of Columbus received a report revealing allegations that Reverend Schilder was a sexual molester. The Church barred Schilder and allowed him to retire. In September 2019, another accusation of sexual misconduct was reported. The alleged abuse occurred between 1981 and 1983. A Review Board from the Columbus Diocese deemed the allegations against Father Schilder to be credible. The Church placed the Reverend on administrative leave. His name appears on the updated March 2020 Diocese of Youngstown list.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Schmidt, Robert R.

Ordained: 1943
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Robert R. Schmidt with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The allegations involving Monsignor Schmidt’s sexual misconduct were not received by Church officials until after he died.

Current Status: Died: 2004


Shaffer, Fintan

Ordained: ?
In 1985, Brother Fintan (Guy Dale) Shaffer faced allegations that he sexually assaulted that he and other religious leaders sexually assaulted residents of a group home serving mentally disabled patients. One group home resident died of AIDS. Brother Shaffer of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd served as the facility’s administrator. The local District Attorney’s Office never filed criminal charges. In 1993, a civil lawsuit was filed against Shaffer and the Diocese of Columbus. In 1997, the case was settled out of court. Shaffer left the Little Brother of the Good Shepherd Order in the mid-1980s.

Current Status: Died: 1989


Spires, Ted

Ordained: 1961
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Ted Spires with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The accusations of sexual misconduct against Reverend Spires were revealed after he died.

Current Status: Deceased


Sprenger, Alan M.

Ordained: 1960
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father Alan M. Sprenger with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Church documents indicate that the accusations of Reverend Sprenger were revealed after his death. Before his ordination into the Roman Catholic Church, Father Sprenger served as a teacher at Pittsburgh, PA North Catholic High School and Dayton, OH Chaminade High School. The former Marianist Brother was the cofounder of youth homes and worked with the county and court children services. Father Sprenger retired from active ministry in 2001.

Current Status: Died: 2006


Tague, John P.

Ordained: 1951
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father John P. Tague with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The allegations involving sexual molestation were revealed after Reverend Tague’s death.

Current Status: Died: 1983


Tumeo, George

Ordained: 1965
In 2018, the Diocese of Columbus publicly named Father George Tumeo with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Tumeo.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Weithman, Martin

Ordained: 1980
In 2002, Church officials of the Diocese of Columbus placed Father Martin Weithman on leave of absence after allegations arose that he sexually assaulted an underage boy for over six years during the late 1980s. Reverend Weithman denied the accusations and threatened to file a civil lawsuit against his accuser. In 2002, the Columbus Diocese settled the case with the victim for $115,000. The Diocese of Columbus Review Board found the accusations to be credible. In 2003, Church officials told Father Weithman to ask the Vatican to be defrocked (removed from the priesthood) or the Bishop would ask that he be removed without his consent. Weithman did not consent to the Bishop’s request for his removal from the priesthood until 2004. One year later, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Weithman.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Zuccarelli, Lisa

Ordained: ?
In July 2018, an alleged female victim of Sister Lisa Zuccarelli made accusations that the nun sexually assaulted her in 1982. At the time of the alleged sexual molestation, the victim was a Lancaster, OH Fisher Catholic High School student. Lisa Zuccarelli received her first assignment in 1975 as a Member of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. After the accusations arose, the Order removed the nun from active ministry. She was restricted from unsupervised contact with former students and children. Between 1980 and 1985, Sister Zuccarelli was a Fisher High School teacher. Before that assignment, the nun was a DeSales High School teacher between 1975 and 1977 and a Steubenville, OH Catholic Central High School teacher between 1978 and 1980. From 1995 until 1999, she was teaching at the School of Nursing at Georgetown University. From 1996 until 2002, she served as a chaplain at Darnell Hall and St. Mary’s Hall. Until 2003, she served the Roman Catholic Church as the Director of Academic Enrichment and Student Life. From 2003, until she was removed from her position in 2018, she was a Rhode Island Salve Regina University professor. The Dominican Sisters of Peace deemed the accusations against her to be credible.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct

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