A Franciscan priest who once worked in campus ministry at Franciscan University of Steubenville has been indicted in Ohio for the alleged rape of a female patient who was mentally or physically impaired.
On April 7, Father David Morrier, was indicted in Ohio by the Jefferson County Grand Jury on two charges of sexual battery and a single charge of rape. He was removed from active ministry in 2015 on unspecified sexual misconduct charges, his Franciscan province has said.
The 59-year-old priest, who is a mental health professional, allegedly maintained a three-year sexual relationship with a patient the indictment described as “substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition,” the Steubenville newspaper The Herald Star reports. He allegedly falsely represented to her that sexual conduct was “necessary for mental health treatment purposes.”
An April 9 statement from the Office of the Minister Provincial of the Third Order Regular Franciscans’ Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus said that the alleged conduct related to the charges took place between November 2010 and spring 2013.
“Fr. Morrier was removed from public ministry in 2015 due to allegations of sexual misconduct,” the provincial’s office said. “He has not exercised public ministry since that time. Being removed from public ministry means that he has not publicly celebrated Mass or any sacraments. The province has cooperated fully with the investigation into this matter.”
“The province takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and urges anyone who has been a victim of sexual misconduct to call law enforcement officials immediately,” the statement continued.
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