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Toledo Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Diocese of ToledoFor over twenty years, the US Justice Department, local law enforcement, and the public have scrutinized officials in the Roman Catholic Church in how they handle predatory priests. By 2020, in Ohio, there were 243 Catholic priests, cardinals, bishops, brothers, sisters, and other religious leaders facing a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or young adult.

Many of these cases of sexual molestation occurred in and around Toledo in counties that included Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putman, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot.

Local District Attorney’s Office’s, clergy members, Bishops, religious orders, and parishioners were involved in some of these cases. Other incidents occurred in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Diocese of Cleveland, Diocese of Columbus, Steubenville Diocese, and Youngstown Diocese. Some news outlets have released the names of priests accused of alleged abuse, sodomy, rape, molestation, and child sex abuse throughout northern Ohio.

Toledo Diocese Sexual Abuse Attorneys

For years, the compassionate attorneys at Rosenfeld injury lawyer’s LLC have provided abuse survivors legal assistance to ensure they receive justice and the financial compensation they deserve. We hold predatory priests in the Roman Catholic Church legally accountable. We are here to listen to your horrific story in a confidential environment to ensure your rights remain protected.

Let us build a solid case for financial compensation by using the laws of the State of Ohio and the United States to ensure that your lawsuit is resolved successfully.

In 2019, the Vatican, under the guidance of Pope Francis, announced significant changes in how Church officials worldwide would deal with abusive priests with credible allegations of sexually abusing minors. The new edict release from the Roman Catholic Church abolishes the traditional pontifical secrecy were church leaders for decades covered up evidence that would have held predatory priests accountable.

In April 2020, the Toledo diocese updated their list of clerics with credible accusations of sexual misconduct. The religious leaders are no longer alive. That year, and the last year, every case was investigated by the mandatory review boards under the canonical process guidance of Bishop Daniel Thomas.

In 2019 and 2020, the review board members investigated over a dozen cases and substantiated the accusations made against seven religious leaders. The board members stated that all the priests had, at one time, been assigned to the Diocese of Toledo. The Review Board determined that there was insufficient evidence in some accusations and the remaining religious leaders under investigation. Their names were not included in the list of religious leaders on the Clergy Status Report.

Some of the cases involving the new names date back more than seven decades ago. Many of the cases reported by the Toledo Blade did not have specific information or details of what happened when it occurred or where it occurred. The names added to the updated list include:

  • Reverend Karl L. Burger
  • Father Albert A. Fate
  • Father Frederick A. Garand
  • Reverend Richard S. Liston
  • Father Alexander Pinter
  • Reverend George A. Schmit
  • Reverend Stanislaus Wojciechowski

Nearly two decades ago, the church defense attorneys of the Diocese of Toledo agreed to a negotiated settlement of more than $1.19 million to resolve nineteen lawsuits with twenty-three plaintiffs accusing clerics of sexual abuse of minors. Some plaintiffs received as let us $4500 per case. Other abuse survivors received upwards of $150,000.

All of these cases involved an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against clerics. At that time, the church was looking to promote the healing of innocent victims and move these cases forward while encouraging other sexual molested survivors to speak up. In many cases, the Ohio statute of limitations had already expired, so the victim could not have filed a lawsuit in civil court but only sought compensation from the church.

The first lawsuit filed against the Roman Catholic Church, and a clergy member came in April 2002. At the time, the Diocese of Toledo was part of the national Roman Catholic Church scandal involving hundreds of abuse of priests and parishes nationwide. Some of these cases were filed against Catholic religious orders, including the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, Franciscans, and others.

The Effects of Child Sexual Assault Can Last a Lifetime

Catholic priest sexual abuse often leaves the survivors with long-lasting physical and emotional harm, especially if the victim is an innocent child or vulnerable young adults. Often, for years, the sexual abuse survivor would deal with life-changing decisions, including unwanted pregnancy, severe medical condition, sexually transmitted disease, emotional distress, or physical injuries caused by the sexual assault.

These victimized survivors usually develop life-changing trauma expressed through high anxiety, ongoing depression, severe eating disorders, self-harming behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder, in suicidal ideation (thoughts about suicide).

Some victims will struggle with the thoughts of what happened and expressed their trauma through criminal behavior, misuse of alcohol and drugs, displays of inappropriate sexual behavior, or the unexpected challenges that developed when creating long-lasting relationships. Some victims are sexually assaulted in a single event. Others are the victims of repeated sexual molestation by their abuser, or past around others.

Sometimes, the victim’s parents will not believe what the survivors tell them about the clergy member who sexually assaulted them and tell them to remain quiet and never speak of what happened. In some incidents, the victim must face their assaulter every day at school or when church because his or her parents or church officials never told local civil authorities or child social services what happened. Without protection, the innocent victim may be exposed to potential further abuse from a staff member in the church hierarchy.

Every sexual assault survivor can speak up and report to local law enforcement precisely what happened. In Ohio, the victim or a family member can contact the Department of Job and Family Services at (855) 642-4453) the automatic telephone directory will link the caller to the appropriate department that might be at the local law enforcement office or child welfare department.

Hiring a Diocese Of Toledo Sexual Abuse Attorney

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has recovered more than $250 million of financial compensation on behalf of our injured clients. Our clients have received payments through a jury trial verdict and negotiated settlements. We use our years of experience to build a solid case and present the evidence needed at trial or during settlements to hold the responsible parties legally and financially accountable.

Were you the victim of sexual assault caused by a cardinal, bishop, parish priest, clergy member, or another religious leader? If so, let our team of dedicated, compassionate lawyers help. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 to discuss every legal option you have in a confidential setting.

We are currently handling all cases involving clergy members who are in “active ministry,” on administrative leave of absence, laicized (removed from the priesthood), retired, or deceased. Let us begin the process today before the statute of limitations expires.

List of Clergy Abusers in the Diocese of Toledo

Beauregard, Thomas J.

Ordained: 1951
In 2002, public allegations arose accusing Father Thomas J. Beauregard of sexually molesting at least three underage girls from 1964 until 1966. At the time of the alleged incidents, Reverend Beauregard worked as a Central Catholic High School religion teacher. The sexual abuse survivors allege that Father Beauregard would order his female victims to take their clothes off during counseling sessions. At least one girl claims that the priest fondled her. Some victims state that he took photographs of the girls and would, at times, take his clothes off and lie on top of them. After the first female victim filed a complaint in 1994, Church officials removed Reverend Beauregard from his parish assignment. Until about 2002, Reverend Beauregard served the Roman Catholic Church on the Marriage Tribunal. Before his death in 2005, he was barred from public ministry.

Current Status: Died: 2005


Beaver, Nelson

Ordained: 1976
In October 2018, Church officials suspended Father Nelson Beaver’s faculties to minister to the congregation after allegations arose that he sexually molested an underage child over two decades before. Reverend Beaver denied the accusation. Since 2010, he was assigned to the Mansfield, OH, St. Mary of the Snows Parish and the Lexington, OH, Resurrection Church as pastor. Before converting his faith to Catholicism, he worked as an ordained Lutheran minister between 1969 and 1972. In July 2019, the Diocese of Toledo announced his retirement. The priest remained on administrative leave while the Diocese investigated the allegation. After the Diocese closed the first investigation in March 2019, two additional allegations arose. The police closed their investigations because the statute of limitations involving the cases had expired. In October 2019, the Toledo Diocese announced that the Church Review Board found the allegations against Father Beaver to be credible. Church officials sent Beaver’s case to the Vatican and recommended he be laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood).

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Burger, Karl L.

Ordained: 1930
In 2018, the Diocese of Toledo publicly named Father Karl L. Burger with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. After Reverend Burger’s death, one accuser stepped forward alleging that they were a victim of the priest’s inappropriate sexual conduct.

Current Status: Died: 1991


Doyle, Michael

Ordained: < 1950
In October 2002, an alleged sexual abuse survivor accused Father Michael Doyle of inappropriate sexual contact. The woman states that Reverend Doyle molested her in his office at Saint Anthony’s Orphanage when she was a child. The alleged victim claims that two other orphans at the facility, including another one of Doyle’s victims, knew that he was a sexual molester. The woman stated that she attempted to tell nuns who worked at the orphanage what the priest had done. However, the nuns allegedly punished her and transferred her to a residential school for girls because of her defiance. The alleged sexual abuse survivor said that she attempted to speak to Church officials at the Diocese of Toledo in 1973 about what had happened. However, the Diocese of Toledo Bishop Donovan dismissed her allegations. In 2004, Church officials that the Diocese of Toledo settled one case through a negotiated agreement.

Current Status: Died: 1987


Fate, Albert A.

Ordained: 1913
In 2018, the Diocese of Toledo publicly named Father Albert A. Fate with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Accusations involving Reverend Fate were revealed after his death in 1963.

Current Status: Died: 1963


Feltman, Philip S.

Ordained: 1966
In 2002, a woman filed a complaint alleging that Father Philip S. Feltman sexually assaulted her in 1972 when she was a nine-year-old child. The alleged incident occurred at the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. The case was turned over to the Diocese of Toledo Review Board that found accusations to be credible. In response, the Church removed the priest from active ministry in January 2003. Feltman denied the charges and the Church scheduled a disciplinary panel to deal with the case. However, the alleged sexual abuse survivor refused to appear in front of the inquiry board. In response, the Church forwarded the case to the Vatican. In July 2003, Father Feltman was allowed to return to active ministry when the council at the Vatican found insufficient evidence to support the allegations. Feltman retired from active ministry in May 2009.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Fisher, Robert J.

Ordained: 1980
Law enforcement arrested, convicted and sentenced Father Robert J. Fisher on charges of sexually molesting a fourteen-year-old female in 1987. The charges involved contributing to the sexual abuse of a minor and sexual imposition. In 1988, the court sentenced Reverend Fisher to thirty days in jail. He received four years of therapy before being reinstated into the Roman Catholic Church for active ministry. Church officials waited until July 2002 before permanently removing Father Fisher after the Dallas Bishops’ Conference was held.

Current Status: Convicted of inappropriate sexual contact with a minor


Gallen, John J.

Ordained: 1963
In 2004, New York Province Jesuit Father John J. Gallen faced accusations that he sexually assaulted a sixteen-year-old male into Toledo, Ohio, and California in 1980. In 1993, the New York Jesuit Provincial wrote to the alleged sexual abuse survivor and sent along Reverend Gallen‘s letter of apology. A second letter was sent by Father Gallen the following year.  In 1994, the victim agreed to a negotiated settlement of $50,000 to resolve the case. Even though Church officials knew of the priest’s inappropriate sexual contact, they allowed Gallen to remain in active ministry until 2003. During his career, the priest worked at the Archdiocese at Woodstock College between 1968 and 1973. His name appears on the December 2018 Jesuit Midwest Province List and the Phoenix Diocese List where he served as a Director of Liturgy. The January 2019 Northeast Province Jesuit’s list revealed allegations that he sexually molested underage children in the 1970s and 1980s. His name also appears on the April 2019 Archdiocese of Baltimore list.

Current Status: Died: 2011


Garand, Frederick A.

Ordained: 1953
In 1982, Father Frederick A. Garand was murdered in Florida. Law enforcement in Toledo interviewed two underage children at the Child Study Institute. The children revealed that the priest had sexually molested them and other victims. During the investigation, another accuser stepped forward revealing that Reverend Garand had sexually assaulted him beginning in 1954 that lasted for years. In 1958, a law enforcement officer complained to Church officials who then transferred Father Garand to another parish. The April 2020 Diocese of Toledo lists revealed Garand’s name along with others with credible accusations of sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Murdered in 1982


Geiger, William

Ordained: 1954
In May 2003, Redemptorist Father William Geiger and the Diocese of Toledo were named in a civil lawsuit filed by three alleged victims accusing the Reverend of sexual abuse occurring in the 1970s. The alleged sexual abuse survivors claim that the priest and another religious leader from the same Redemptorist Order sexually molested them at a parish in Lima, OH. At the time of the alleged molestation, the boys were 6 to 10 years of age. The second priest was not revealed because of confusion with his name. At the time the lawsuit was filed, Father Geiger was assigned to the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, likely at the Concord, NC St. James the Greater Parish. Other church documents show him working at a parish in the Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania. In 2004, Church officials negotiated an out of court settlement with the victims. The priest died three years later in 2007. The August 2018 Diocese of Harrisburg lists identifies Reverend Geiger. However, the list does not contain any allegations of sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Died: 2007


Gray, Dennis

Ordained: 1974
In 2002 and 2003, Father Dennis Gray’s appeared in at least eleven lawsuits with allegations that he sexually molested boys between 1975 and 1987. Church documents from the Diocese to Toledo deemed the allegations against Reverend Gray to be credible. In 1987, Father Gray left the priesthood. In 1994, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Gray. By 2002, he worked for the Toledo Public Schools as a Dean of students before voluntarily surrendering his teaching certificate. By April 2012, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests reported that he was attempting to join the Perrysburg, OH, Blessed John Catholic Church. He died in 2019.

Current Status: Died: 2019


Hemstreet, John

Ordained: 1964
In 1987, Father John Hemstreet was no longer active in religious ministry. In 1992, Law enforcement arrested Reverend Hemstreet for the sexual assault of a ten-year-old male. In response, the Diocese of Toledo ordered Father Hemstreet to receive treatment at St. Luke’s. In 1993, the court sentenced Hemstreet to ninety days in jail. Church records indicate that the Reverend left the ministry without laicization (defrocking – removal from the priesthood). Records show that the Reverend was an “admitted alcoholic, convicted child molester, and former Boy Scout leader.” Hemstreet protested the Boy Scouts’policy of not allowing homosexual leaders in their organization. Church records show that in 1988, 1990, 1995, Hemstreet was placed on a leave of absence.”

Current Status: Died: 2007


Kokocinski, Bernard

Ordained: 1966
In 2002, Father Bernard Kokocinski was named in two civil lawsuits on accusations of raping an underage male in 1975 and abusing the victim’s brother. Law enforcement arrested Reverend Kokocinski at least three times, charging him with improper sexual activity. In June 2004, the Church settled the claim for compensation at mediation. That same year, Church officials barred Father Kokocinski from active ministry. Two years later, the state revoked his teaching certificate. In 2007, the Clerical state dismissed the priest’s case.

Current Status: Arrested and charged


Liston, Richard S.

Ordained: 1975
When allegations arose that Father Richard S. Liston raped a teen in Norwalk in 1978, the Diocese of Toledo quietly reassigned him to at least two other locations. In 1985, the Toledo Police Department investigated Father Liston and his ownership interest into two gay bars. During the investigation, past allegations of sexual misconduct involving Liston arose. Church officials sent Father Liston to a Virginia treatment center. However, the priest walked away from the facility. His name appears on an April 2020 Toledo Diocese’s list of religious leaders who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Died: 2020


Lucas, C. Neil

Ordained: 1967
In December 2002, Church officials placed Father C. Neil Lucas on administrative leave after allegations arose that he sexually molested one or more underage boys during the 1970s. The Diocese of Toledo Review Board recommended Reverend Lucas be removed from active ministry. When asked about his participation, Lucas did not deny the allegations. A report dated March 2004 from the Diocese of Toledo revealed that Father Lucas was among ten priests permanently removed from public ministry who had credible evidence that substantiated the allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.

Current Status: Died: 2007


McCullen, John

Ordained: 1944
In March 2004, Father John McCullen’s name appeared on the list of religious leaders from the Diocese of Toledo accused of sexual molestation. Accusations arose after he relocated to Florida in 1960. The cases of abuse allegedly occurred there. Although he was listed as retired from active ministry, Reverend McCullen worked at the Deerfield Beach, FL Saint Ambrose Church. Later, Church officials barred the priest from public ministry and sent the case to the Vatican for further review.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


McLaughlin, Michael P.

Ordained: 1977
In 2003, Father Michael P. McLaughlin was named in a civil lawsuit accusing him of sexually molesting underage boy in the church rectory in 1980. At the time of the alleged assault, the victim was eleven years old. In 1987, a second accusation arose from a different alleged victim. Before Church Officials Barred McLaughlin from active ministry in 1990, he had been assigned to four parishes. He was then placed on a leave of absence. A statement dated March 2004 from the Diocese of Toledo revealed that the priest and two other religious leaders also accused of sexual molestation had left active ministry but had not been Laicized (removed from the priesthood).). The allegations against the clergymen were found to be credible and substantiated. By 2020, the Vatican was still in the process of laicization.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Meiring, Thomas

Ordained: 1968
In 2006, an alleged victim of Father Thomas Meiring accused the priest of sexually abusing him between 1967 and 1969 while he worked in the Diocese of Toledo. At the time of the alleged incident, the victim was fifteen years old. Reverend Meiring denied the accusations. However, in 1983, Meiring asked the Diocese to be laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood). Twenty-three years later, in 2016, the Vatican finally laicized (defrocked) Meiring. During Meiring’s career, he worked as a clinical supervisor and licensed counselor for youths and transgender individuals who had gender-identity issues. In March 2008, the court dismissed a civil lawsuit involving Meiring when the Ohio statute of limitations expired. As of October 2019, Reverend Meiring still worked in the Toledo area as a licensed counselor.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Miller, (unknown)

Ordained: ?
A report in 2003 revealed a newly filed civil lawsuit by an alleged victim of Father Miller alleging that the priest had sexually assaulted him between 1967 in 1973. At the time of the alleged sexual molestation, the victim was age 8 to age 14. The alleged sexual assault occurred in South Toledo at the Saints Peter and Paul Parish. In April 2004, the court dismissed the case against Reverend Miller with prejudice.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct


Pinter, Alexander

Ordained: 1943
Hungarian-native Father Alexander Pinter faced accusations of sexual molestation of an innocent victim between 1956 and 1960 while he worked at the Toledo, Ohio Saint Stephen’s Parish. Church officials sent Reverend Pinter to Canada for treatment before reassigning him to that Canadian location. In 1974, Pinter became a parish priest and died four years later in New Orleans. In January 2020, a lawsuit document accused Reverend Pinter of sexual molestation under the California Child Victims Act. The allegation accuses Pinter of sexually molesting a Vista, CA St. Francis Parish altar boy in 1964. The priest’s name is included on the April 2020 Diocese of Toledo with credible allegations of sexual misconduct. Pinter is also listed on the 2019 Diocese of Oakland list having worked there too.

Current Status: Died: 1974


Pucci, Joseph

Ordained: 1941
In December 2002, Father Joseph Pucci was accused of sexually molesting two women in the 1950s during their teen years. In 2002, one of the alleged sexual abuse survivors came forward. Representatives for the Roman Catholic Church acknowledge they received the complaint. A report from June 2002 revealed another allegation that Reverend Pucci sexually molested an underage male in a Palm Beach, Florida church rectory in 1980. The alleged victim said he had told the family in 1993 what had happened. The case was reported to the police and the Palm Beach Bishop. In 1994, Father Pucci retired from the priesthood and died six years later in Florida. In 1998, the Reverend  admitted that he had sexually assaulted an underage male after he first became a priest. Later, he acknowledged he also abused four other underage males.

Current Status: Died: 2000


Punnoor, Samuel

Ordained: 1996
In May 2015, Church officials placed Father Samuel Punnoor on administrative leave after it was revealed that he was involved in child sex abuse. At the time of the allegation, India-native Reverend Punnoor went back to his homeland. When he returned to Ohio from India, the Church suspended him from active ministry. Father Punnoor was assigned to the Diocese of Toledo since April 2011. In 2015, Church officials reassigned Punnoor to the Pathanamthitta Diocese in India. Documents reveal that the priest abandoned his work in the priesthood in 2016.

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct


Richey, Herbert, Jr.

Ordained: 1978
Father Herbert Richey, Jr. faced allegations that he sexually assaulted several underage children. At least seven victims were allegedly harmed beginning in the 1980s at two parishes. Before 1992, the Diocese of Toledo agreed to confidential settlements with victims. That year, Reverend Richey, Jr. was forced from the priesthood after the allegations were substantiated. In 1997, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Reverend Richey, Jr. Afterward, he was serving the congregation of the Roman Catholic Church at another Toledo Diocese Parish as an organist and music director. He then held those positions at a Detroit church. In 2002, Church officials banned Richey, Jr. from working in any capacity in the Church. However, in January 2011, he was found working as a church organist in the Detroit area and was removed. His name appears on the June 2019 Archdiocese of Detroit list with credible accusations of sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Robinson, Gerald J.

Ordained: 1964
In 2003 or 2004, Church officials placed Father Gerald J. Robinson on administrative leave for sexually molesting a fourteen-year-old female at Mercy Hospital in 1978. The alleged victim accused several priests of ritual abuse. In 2005, Reverend Robertson faced another accusation of ritual sexual assault of an underage female from 1968 until 1975. In May 2006, the justice system convicted Father Robinson of the ritual murder of a Mercy Hospital nun in 1980. He received a fifteen-year prison sentence and appealed the case to the Ohio Supreme Court in 2008. The court refused to hear the appeal. In January 2007, a judge dismissed a filed civil lawsuit due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. By October of that year, the court reinstated the suit, but it was dismissed again in January 2010. By June 2014, Reverend Robinson was terminally ill while incarcerated. He sought an early release from prison. However, state authorities opposed his release and denied the request on July 3, 2014. He died the next day in prison.

Current Status: Died: 2014


Rogers, Stephen G.

Ordained: 1995
In December 2002, Church officials placed Father Stephen G. Rogers on administrative leave after he was caught with child pornography obtained over the Internet. In 2003, the Court system convicted Reverend Rogers. He received a twenty-one month prison sentence and served eighteen months. The Diocese of Toledo paid the priest’s salary during his incarceration. He worked as the Central Catholic High School religion teacher before he was found in the possession of child porn.  In November 2006, the state revoked his teaching certificate. The Church permanently removed Father Rogers from active ministry. As of January 2010, he was a registered sex offender.

Current Status: Convicted on child pornography charges


Roth, James H.

Ordained: 1995
In January 2015, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales received information from an alleged victim of Father James H. Roth. The alleged sexual abuse survivor accused Reverend Roth of sexually molesting him multiple times fourteen years before when the victim was nine or ten years of age. Church officials removed Father Roth from his Toronto school board position and informed the police. In February 2015, the police suspected that Roth died by suicide, leaving a note admitting to the sexual molestation. Before his ordination to the Roman Catholic Church in 1995, Reverend Roth was a Brother of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Between 1976 and 1987 and again between 1995 and 2004, he was assigned to the Toledo, OH St. Francis de Sales High School. He worked as a school administrator, guidance counselor, and teacher. The priest also served the church part-time at the Monroe, Michigan St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish, and worked at schools in Ontario, Canada, and Utah. His name appears on the June 2019 Archdiocese of Detroit list with credible evidence of sexual misconduct.

Current Status: Died: 2015


Scharf, Lawrence C.

Ordained: 1965
In March 2002, Church officials placed Father Lawrence C. Scharf on administrative leave after allegations arose of sexual molestation involving a child in 1976. Church officials later learned of another case involving sexual misconduct that happened in 1981. The priest acknowledged that allegations of his inappropriate sexual behavior were true. The Church then ordered Reverend Scharf to receive inpatient therapy. By 2004, Church officials deemed the allegations against him to be credible and barred him from active ministry.

Current Status: Admitted sexual misconduct


Schmelzer, Joseph M.

Ordained: 1977
In 2002, an alleged victim of Father Joseph M. Schmelzer accused the priest of sexually molesting him between 1983 and 1985. At the time of the alleged assault, the victim was a teenager. The alleged sexual abuse survivor said that Reverend Schmelzer started touching him when he was sixteen years old and began sexually assaulting him when he was nineteen years old. The victim started complaining to officials in 1993. In response, the Church counseled the priest before reassigning him to a new location. In 2003, the victim filed a civil lawsuit. At that time, Church officials permanently removed Father Schmelzer after the Diocese of Toledo Review Board found the allegations against him to be credible. In 2004, another allegation was reported. However, Church officials did not reveal the report until three years later. In November 2006, the state revoked his teaching certificate. In November 2018, an alleged victim spoke to a local news organization revealing that he had first talked to the Toledo Diocese in 2005 about the abuse. The alleged sexual abuse survivor stated that Reverend Father Joseph M. Schmelzer fondled, drugged, and raped him in the rectory at Saint Wendelin. The news report indicated that Church officials did not respond to what they had been told. The abuse survivor stated that in 2015, he spoke with the Diocese again. In December 2017, the Diocese Review Board found the allegations against pace that to be “not substantiated.”

Current Status: Accused of sexual misconduct


Schmit, George A.

Ordained: 1935
In 2018, the Diocese of Toledo publicly named Father George A. Schmit with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. The allegations involving Reverend Schmit’s sexual misconduct were not received by Church officials until after he died in 1984.

Current Status: Died: 1984


Shiffler, John C.

Ordained: 1978
In 2002, Church officials placed Father John C. Shiffler on a leave of absence after the lawsuit was filed. The alleged victim stated that the priest sexually assaulted him in 1987. The sexual abuse survivor said that Dennis Gray also allegedly sexually assaulted him between 1983 and 1987. The Diocese of Toledo received the man’s complaint in 1995. Afterward, Reverend Shiffler acknowledged that he had sexually assaulted the plaintiff and another underage child during the 1980s. Church officials sent Father Shiffler the therapy. Upon his return to active ministry in September 1997, Shiffler was reassigned at a Home for the Aged as a chaplain. In 2002, Toledo Diocese Church officials permanently removed Shiffler from active ministry after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. The Church found the allegations to be credible.

Current Status: Permanently removed from active ministry


Shrimplin, Glen

Ordained: 1974
In 2003, Church officials placed Deacon Glen Shrimplin on a leave of absence after the lawsuit was filed, claiming that the Deacon had sexually assaulted two underage boys during the 1970s. In 1987, the Deacon stated he was leaving the active diaconate (office of the deacon) on his own and denied the accusations of sexual assault. However, the Toledo Diocese Bishop acknowledged that the Deacon had been removed from active ministry by the Church. In 2004, a third man reached a negotiated settlement with the Diocese of Toledo and the Deacon to resolve his claim. A fourth case was filed in February 2008, accusing Shrimplin of sexually abusing a victim in Florida in 1975 or 1976 during a trip. In November 2007, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the diaconate) Deacon Shrimplin. In June 2008, the civil lawsuit was dropped due to the expiration of the Ohio statute of limitations.

Current Status: Died: 2017


Thomas, Robert R.

Ordained: 1960
In July 2002, the Roman Catholic Church removed Father Robert R. Thomas from active ministry after allegations arose that he sexually assaulted a child between 1982 and 1984. At the time of the assault, Reverend Robert Thomas worked in the Diocese at Toledo at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. Thomas admitted he had sexually assaulted the minor, and he left the parish to receive treatment. Afterward, he relocated to the Bucyrus, OH Holy Trinity Parish, before being reassigned to the Diocese of Tucson. While at the Tucson Diocese, the allegations of sexual misconduct in Ohio became public. While there is no evidence of sexual molestation noted to have occurred in the Tucson Diocese, Church officials permanently removed Father Robert Thomas from active ministry.

Current Status: Died: 2018


Tynan, J. Michael

Ordained: ?
Church officials from the Diocese of Columbus placed Deacon J. Michael Tynan on administrative leave two days before he was to be ordained into the Roman Catholic Church in June 2004. At that time, the Columbus Diocese was informed that forty-five-year-old Tynan was under investigation for the possession of child pornography. An investigation started when U.S. Customs officials identified his appearing on a foreign country-based website containing child porn. However, it took Church officials until October 2004 (four months later) to state the reason he was not ordained into the Church for the priesthood at the time he was criminally charged. He received a three-year prison sentence and was required to participate in the Ohio Sex Offender Registry. In 2006, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the diaconate) Tynan.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the diaconate)


Varney, Lawrence F.

Ordained: 1960
In 2008, Church officials of the Diocese of Toledo placed Father Lawrence F. Varney on leave of absence and barred from active ministry over allegations involving sexual misconduct revealed by an accuser who had recently stepped forward. At the time, the Toledo Diocese Review Board found credible accusations that Reverend Varney had engaged in inappropriate sexual activity involving a child nearly three decades earlier during the late 1970s. At the time of the alleged assault, Father Varney worked for the Roman Catholic Church as the Toledo Central Catholic High School instructor. Varney retired from active ministry in 2002. Church officials permanently removed Varney from active ministry and referred his case to the Vatican.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry


Warren, Chester John

Ordained: 1957
In 2005, Diocese of Toledo Bishop Blair called Father Chester John Warren’s inappropriate behavior of sexually molesting over ten underage females “grievously sinful and criminal acts.” Documents revealed accusations of ritual abuse. The Church settled claims against Reverend Warren for over $1.2 million. In 1993, the Reverend’s Order of Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales expelled him from the Order. In August 2006, a Court Order barred Father Warren from access to the school and parish after receiving complaints from families that he showed up at all hours, sometimes wearing clerical garb even though he had agreed to attend the facilities at specific hours. In 2007, the Vatican laicized (defrocked – removed from the priesthood) Warren. The priest’s name appears on the 2019 Diocese of Toledo list, where the Reverend was assigned to work for the Church between 1974 and 1978.

Current Status: Laicized (removed from the priesthood)


Welch, Leo

Ordained: 1952
In 2002, Father Leo Welch was named in a civil lawsuit with accusations that he sexually assaulted two underage children between 1959 and 1961. At the time of the alleged abuse, Reverend Welch served the congregation at Bellevue, OH Immaculate Conception Parish. The lawsuit claims that the priest sexually assaulted boys in his Bono, OH cabin. One of his alleged victims says that he was sexually molested by Father Welch when he was 12 to 14 years of age. The victim states that at fifteen years old, he told his pastor what Welch had done. Reportedly, Church officials transferred Reverend Welch out of the parish when other victims stepped forward with their accusations. He left active ministry in 1965 without permission of Church officials. By 1974, Welch was working as a certified social worker. In 2002, Father Leo Walsh admitted that he was a sexual molester. Afterward, he was fired from his position.

Current Status: Died: 2016


Wojciechowski, Stanislaus

Ordained: 1937
In 2018, the Diocese of Toledo publicly named Father Stanislaus Wojciechowski with credible evidence of sexual molestation of an innocent victim. Reports of the allegation against Reverend Wojciechowski were released after he died.

Current Status: Died: 1979


Yeager, Robert J.

Ordained: 1962
According to an article published in 2004, the Diocese of Toledo attorneys reached a negotiated settlement with one victim who was sexually assaulted by Father Robert J. Yeager. Afterward, Reverend Yeager continue to serve the Toledo Diocese as a major fundraiser. It was not until May 2006 that Church officials placed Yeager on administrative leave after completing an investigation and finding the accusations against him to be credible. Afterward, a second victim stepped forward to make accusations against Father Yeager. The priest retired from active ministry in 2005. In November 2006, the state of Ohio revoked Yeager’s teaching certificate. Church officials publicly removed Reverend Yeager from active ministry.

Current Status: Retired from active ministry

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