A Catholic priest charged last week with seven counts of sexual battery of a minor who attended his parish in Glouster was punished by the regional Diocese in Steubenville last November after he reportedly was seen with the minor at a wedding reception.

A spokesperson for the Diocese said last week that Father Henry Christopher Foxhoven, 45, of Glouster, was suspended last November after “taking a minor in his car to a wedding reception,” and also was ordered to get counseling.

Foxhoven was suspended again and barred from church property on Saturday, Oct. 27, after, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant for Foxhoven, the priest admitted to Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Monforton that he had been “sexually involved with a juvenile member of his congregation and that she was now pregnant.”

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said that Foxhoven had admitted as much to the victim’s parents on Friday. The victim is, or was, an altar girl at Holy Cross in Glouster, one of Foxhoven’s two parishes (the other is St. Mary of the Hills parish in nearby Buchtel).

Foxhoven was charged with seven counts of sexual battery in Athens County Municipal Court last Tuesday, and he could face further charges; Blackburn said last week that the case will be presented to an Athens County Grand Jury at some point in the near future.

Blackburn said Sunday that his office received a call last week from somebody who said they were an out-of-town guest at the wedding reception in question last November. That unidentified person said he saw Foxhoven inappropriately touching the minor at that reception. Blackburn said Athens County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Gilette (the investigator in this case) received a letter from the diocese last week confirming the suspension and counseling order.

Steubenville Diocese spokesperson Dino Orsatti reported in a statement last week that Foxhoven was suspended for an unidentified period of time for “taking a minor in his car to a wedding reception.”

“He was also ordered to get counseling. This was a boundary violation of our child-protection decree,” Orsatti said. “The diocese took the necessary steps in this case according to the decree. The diocese has been in compliance with every annual audit in order to meet requirements of the ‘Charter for the protection of children and young people.’ It is an independent audit employed by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

Blackburn previously alleged that Foxhoven had “groomed” the unidentified victim for three years, and charged that she was impregnated by Foxhoven (Blackburn said the sexual relationship apparently didn’t start until August of this year). 

The Steubenville Diocese also last week released a list of former priests in the diocese who were “credibly accused” or otherwise admitted to sexual abuse of a minor and removed from “active ministry,” dating back to 1944. It includes the names of 16 priests and one seminarian, at least three of home at one point served in Athens County parishes.

Specifically, suspended priests Joseph A. Martinkosky, Robert F. Marrer and Walter Plimmer each worked in Athens County at one time.

Marrer, who is deceased, was at Christ the King University Parish in Athens between 1966 and 1969. According to the website BishopAccountability.org, “Allegations surfaced in 2006 that Marrer raped a 3- to 6 year-old-girl between 1966-1969, while at Christ the King.” Marrer also served at St. Paul Church in 1966, according to that church’s website.

Plimmer, who is also deceased, was suspended from the ministry in 1956, and he served at the Athens Christ the King Chapel from 1955-1957, according to that church’s website.

Martinkosky was suspended from the ministry in 1991; he was listed as an “assistant” with Christ the King in 1972, according to that church’s website.

Monforton said in a release that he is “very sorry” to those hurt by these priests.

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

Load comments