2 priests under suspension have ties to Miami Valley

Published: Saturday, August 03, 2019 @ 7:12 PM

2 suspended priests have Miami Valley ties

Two Roman Catholic priests on administrative leave — the “strongest action” a local bishop can take on his own against a priest — have ties to the Miami Valley.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which serves southwest Ohio, including the greater Cincinnati and Dayton regions, on July 23 suspended the Rev. Geoffrey Drew, and has suspended the Rev. Clarence Heis for the second time.

Drew previously served at St. Rita of Cascia Parish in Dayton and St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Beavercreek. He was placed on leave from his post at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Twp., Hamilton County amid accusations of “behavior that violates the decree on child protection,” according to a letter written by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, our media partner WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported.

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The Rev. Geoff Drew

Archdiocesan officials told St. Ignatius parishioners at a meeting last week that the allegations against Drew involved inappropriate texts exchanged with a male student at St. Ignatius School, according to WCPO.

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Heis is on leave for a “pending investigation,” according to the archdiocese website. He previously served at Holy Trinity Parish in Coldwater; St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg; and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg.

The Rev. Clarence Heis

Heis was arrested in 2005 for allegedly having sex with two men at a Fairborn park. He later pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was suspended in 2006 and reinstated in 2009, and has since worked out of the main office of the archdiocese, WCPO reported. 

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Drew served as the pastor for nine years at St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Twp., Butler County, and was transferred last year to St. Ignatius. The Butler County church planned a Monday meeting with parishioners, but it was postponed Friday after “further developments have come to light,” the Rev. Jim Riehle, St. Maximilian Kolbe’s current pastor, said in a letter to parishioners. 

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it had investigated Drew but at the time only found his actions to be “inappropriate” but not criminal. However, Riehle’s letter stated that, “local authorities are conducting further investigations. We do no know what these investigations may reveal.”