Diocese of Steubenville releases names of 16 accused priests, one seminarian


The Diocese of Steubenville has released the names of 16 priests and a seminarian who have been credibly accused of or admitted to sexual abuse of a minor. 

“It wll help survivors of sexual abuse find the strength to come forward and these innocent victims can begin the process of healing,” said Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton. “I pledge to do everything possible to protect our youth.”

The lists includes allegations spanning seven decades, with the most recent allegation including a seminarian who was dismissed from his studies in 2016, and convicted that July of attempting to cross state lines “with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who had not attained the age of 12 years.”

  • Cletus Altermatt, suspended from ministry in 1952 (deceased);
  • Elwood Bernas, suspended from ministry in 1986;
  • Robert A. Brown (deceased);
  • Vincent Danko, suspended from ministry in 1971 (deceased);
  • H. Christopher Foxhoven, suspended from ministry Oct. 27, 2018;
  • Harold Goschke, suspended from ministry in 1957 (deceased);
  • Kenneth Harris, suspended from ministry in 1963 (deceased);
  • Michael Hellmer, suspended from ministry in 1989 (deceased);
  • John “Jack” Holmes, suspended from ministry in 1989 (deceased);
  • Anthony Jablonowski, suspended from ministry in 2003, dismissed from the clerical state by Pope Benedict XVI in 2006;
  • Robert F. Marrer, deceased;
  • Joseph A. Martinkosky, suspended from ministry in 1991;
  • John Nadzam, suspended from ministry in 2004 (deceased);
  • Walter Plimmer, suspended from ministry in 1956 (deceased);
  • Francis Rothbauer, suspended from ministry in 1998 (deceased);
  • Joel Wright, pre-theology seminarian who never became a candidate for ordination; dismissed as a seminarian in January 2016, convicted in July 2016.
  • Gary Zalenski, suspended from ministry in 2007, dismissed from the clerical state as a result of an ecclesiastical trial in 2014.

One priest, who was removed from active ministry in May 2018, was not included in the list because his case is currently under investigation by Belmont County law enforcement. Priests who are a part of a religious order were also omitted, as they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the diocese.

If you know of any suspected cases of sexual abuse of minors by a person involved with the Diocese of Steubenvile, the diocese encourages you to contact local civil authorities and the diocese. The diocese can be reached through Father James M. Dunfee at (740) 282-3631 or jdunfee@diosteub.org.

“I say to the victims and to all, for the actions of those with the care of souls who have acted in these horrible ways, as your bishop, I am very sorry,” said Bishop Monforton.

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