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Columbus Bishop Removes Priest on Child Sex Abuse Claim

The Columbus Bishop has removed from the ministry a pastor at Sacred Heart Parish following allegations of abuse of a minor. According to a release from the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, Bishop Frederick Campbell permanently removed the priest - Samuel Ritchey - from ministry in the Catholic church after the church Review Board determined that the abuse allegation from 1977 is credible.

Sacred Heart officials and parishioners declined comment.

In 1977, the time of the alleged abuse, Ritchey was a teacher at Fisher Catholic High School in Lancaster and a part of St. Bernadette Parish.

A spokeswoman for the Columbus Diocese, Robin Miller, declined a telephone interview by WOSU News, but said in an email that removal from a ministry is the most severe punishment given by the Diocese. She said, such punishment was necessary once the allegation was deemed credible.