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Vatican permanently removes last three Archdiocese of Cincinnati priests on administrative leave

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Press Release

Three priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati who have been on administrative leave because of allegations of improper behavior involving minors have been dismissed from the clerical state by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) at the Vatican. The move leaves the Archdiocese of Cincinnati with no further priests on administrative leave.

Thomas Kuhn, Thomas Feldhaus, and Ronald Cooper have been permanently removed from both the rights and the obligations of the priesthood after a canonical process. The decisions were made by a panel of three judges in another diocese and affirmed by the CDF. The canonical process is described online HERE.

This constitutes the Church’s ultimate penalty in these matters and is commonly referred to as being defrocked.

“I hope that this resolution will bring some measure of closure and healing to anyone harmed by these priests,” said the Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati. “With this decision, all of the cases presented to the CDF have been dealt with and we have no more priests of the Archdiocese on administrative leave.

“As Archbishop, I deeply regret that any representative of the local church has ever harmed a child under our care. We remain committed to enforcing our policies to provide a safe environment for children under our care, and to ministering to survivors of abuse.”

Kuhn was put on administrative in 2002 after law enforcement officers seized the office computers at St. Henry Parish in Dayton, where he was pastor. In 2004, he was convicted of 11 misdemeanor charges of public indecency and providing alcohol to minors. He violated terms of his probation on those charges and served 30 days in jail.

Following priestly ordination in 1967, Kuhn served briefly as assistant pastor pro-tem at Resurrection of Our Lord in Price Hill before being named assistant pastor at St. Ann, Groesbeck, and a teacher at Elder High School. In addition to remaining at Elder, he served as assistant at Holy Family, Price Hill, 1968-1970; St. William, Price Hill, 1970-1972; Our Lady of Victory, Delhi (pro-tem), 1972-1973, and associate at Our Lady of the Visitation, Delhi, 1974-1976. He was co-pastor of St. Vincent de Paul, Sayler Park, 1976-1982. He was appointed acting principal of Elder High School in 1981 and was principal 1982-1988. He served as resident associate at St. John the Evangelist, West Chester, 1982-1989; pastor of Incarnation, Dayton, 1989-2001; and pastor of St. Henry, 2001-2002.

Feldhaus was put on administrative leave in 2003 after an allegation that he inappropriately touched a minor on two occasions around 1979. A priest on administrative leave may not celebrate the sacraments, engage in priestly ministry, or present himself as a priest in any way.

Feldhaus was ordained a priest in 1976. He served in the following assignments: associate pastor, St. Therese the Little Flower, Mt. Airy, 1975-1979; graduate studies at Lateran University in Rome,1979-1981; associate pastor, Our Lady of Victory, Delhi Township,1981-1986; associate pastor, St. Therese the Little Flower, Mt. Airy, 1986-1988; chaplain, Good Samaritan Hospital, 1988-1990; pastor, St. Michael, Ripley,1990-2001; pastor, St. John Neumann, Pleasant Run, 2001-2003.

Cooper was put on administrative leave in 2004 as a result of an allegation that he inappropriately touched a minor in the 1983-1984 time period. An adult male reported to the Archdiocese that when he was a teenager Cooper inappropriately touched him several times at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish in Bridgetown, where Cooper was then an associate pastor, and at the Friar’s Club in Cincinnati. Cooper acknowledged the contact with the minor but said his actions were without sexual intent.

Cooper was stationed at St. Aloysius from his ordination in 1983 until 1986. He was associate pastor at St. Ann, Groesbeck, 1986-1989; associate pastor, St. Albert the Great, Dayton, 1989-1990; associate pastor, St. Thomas More, Withamsville, 1990-1993; pastor, St. Benignus, Greenfield, and St. Michael, New Vienna, 1993-2003; and pastor, St. Angela Merici, Fayetteville, 2003.

The status of clerics credibly accused of child abuse is detailed on the archdiocesan website HERE.

Archbishop Schnurr urges anyone who has been abused at any time by an agent of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati (priest, deacon, employee, or volunteer) to contact Cherie Groman, MST, Coordinator of Ministry to Survivors of Abuse of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, at 513-263-6623 or 1-800-686-2724, as well as to the victim’s secular legal authorities. The Archdiocese also will alert the prosecuting attorney of the victim’s county, as it does with every report of child abuse that it receives.

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