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Archdiocese Of Cincinnati Revamps Personnel Investigation Protocol


The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is changing its protocol for investigating employees. The change comes as the organization apologizes for not requiring more oversight over Father Geoff Drew while he was being investigated for alleged inappropriate behavior toward teenage boys. 

The archdiocese received multiple complaints about Drew dating back to 2013 when he was a pastor at St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township. The alleged behavior included shoulder massages, inappropriate sexual comments and patting above the knee.

The complaints followed him when he got a new job at St. Ignatius of Loyola. Communications Director Mike Schafer says Drew applied for the job and didn't ask for a transfer. "Father Drew said his elderly mother lives closes to the parish and he would like to move close to her," he says. "He was not asked to leave St. Maximilian Kolbe."

The local archdiocese says Butler County found inadequate evidence of criminal behavior. 

Now the church is commissioning an independent investigation of Drew.

Going forward, the church says people will be placed on administrative leave while investigations are open, which is how they currently handle serious allegations against "lay persons."

"When one is on administrative leave that simply means they cannot present themselves as a priest," says Stevie Angi, a chancellor for the Archdiocese. "They cannot dress as a priest; they are not free to celebrate the sacraments to celebrate mass."

The dioceses ask that suspicious or criminal allegations be reported to Butler or Hamilton county prosecutors. 

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Ambriehl Crutchfield
Ambriehl is a general assignment reporter with interest in education and communities. She works to amplify underrepresented voices and advance daily news stories. She comes to WVXU with previous reporting experience at NPR member stations WBEZ in Chicago and WKYU in Bowling Green, Ky.