Neither the board nor the archbishop were made aware of the multiple complaints against Drew, and the transfer was approved.
The allegations were also reportedly not recorded by Binzer in the priest’s personnel file that would have been available to the archdiocesan personnel board as part of the process.
One month after Drew’s arrival at St.Ignatius, a parishioner at St. Maximillian resubmitted the 2015 complaints about the priest. The complaint was again reported to Butler County officials, but this time it was also brought to the attention of Archbishop Schnurr.
Sources close to the chancery told CNA that because Binzer failed to notify the archbishop or the priest personnel board about the previous allegations he had received, the accusation was believed by them to be an isolated incident.
Drew was asked to restrict his involvement with the school and was assigned to meet regularly with a “monitor,” but school faculty and administration were not told about these restrictions, or the reasons for them.
During a diocesan investigation into the 2018 complaint, Binzer received an additional complaint of similarly inappropriate contact by Drew, this time from his time as a high school music teacher, before his ordination as a priest.
Following a diocesan investigation, Drew was ordered to attend counselling with a psychologist.
On July 23, Drew was removed from ministry at St. Ignatius, when it emerged that he had sent a series of inappropriate text messages to a 17-year old. Sources in the archdiocese told CNA that Drew persistently sent the teenager messages after obtaining the boy’s number from his older brother, and that the matter came to light when the boy’s father discovered the messages.
Both the archdiocese and Hamilton County prosecutors have said there is no indication that any civil laws have been broken, but school officials told local media that they had been given no warning about previous allegations of misconduct against the priest.
A source told CNA that it was only after the recent incident at St. Ignatius that archdiocesan officials discovered that the otherwise undisclosed complaints about Drew had been made to Binzer, and that the auxiliary bishop had failed to report them to other diocesan officials, or raise them during the decision to approve his transfer in 2018.
According to one senior chancery official, Drew’s assignment to St. Ignatius would “never have happened” had Schnurr and the archdiocesan personnel board been aware of the allegations reported to Binzer.
(Story continues below)
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In a statement released to CNA Monday morning, Archbishop Schnurr said that he is “working on personnel and procedural changes to be announced in the very near future to ensure that every member of the Priest Personnel Board has complete insight into a priest’s background and profile before an assignment is made.”
“We obviously made serious mistakes in our handling of this matter, for which we are very sorry,” Schnurr said.
While the archbishop’s statement did not address Binzer’s role directly, senior sources in the archdiocese told CNA that Schnurr had “gone nuclear” when he discovered the situation.
“The archbishop was as mad as I have ever seen him. When he was told that Bishop Binzer had withheld information, well, he used words I have never heard him use before,” one senior source told CNA, saying Schnurr called Binzer’s actions a “firestorm” for the archdiocese.
“Binzer told the archbishop that nothing criminal had happened, he believed it was all in the past for Drew, and that Drew had ‘the right to his good name.’ It did not go down well.”
Senior sources in the archdiocese told CNA that Schnurr spent the weekend considering options for further action against Binzer, including his removal as vicar general and possibly from any executive role in the archdiocese.