Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Accused priest put on leave
BATH TWP., Greene County, Ohio - A priest based in Champaign County is on indefinite administrative leave, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati announced Monday, following his arrest last week on suspicion of public indecency and resisting arrest at the Huffman Dam Five Rivers MetroPark.
Clarence Heis, 51, has been pastor of St. Michael Parish in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception in North Lewisburg since 1993, the archdiocese said.
Heis was ordained in 1982, served as associate pastor at St. Thomas More parish in Withamsville following ordination and at Guardian Angels parish from 1983 to 1989 when he became Air Force chaplain, serving in the Persian Gulf.
In 1992, he was assigned to Holy Trinity parish in Coldwater, where he remained until his latest assignment.
According to a report from park rangers, Heis was arrested Wednesday with two other men when a ranger, acting as a decoy, observed the men engaged in lewd acts.
Larry Jones, chief of the parks' ranger division, said Monday that this year, 30 people have been arrested in the parks for public indecency.
Jones said he has fielded complaints from park visitors who stumble onto illegal activity.
"It's upsetting to have to listen to what those poor people tell you. You feel for them having to witness something like that," Jones said.
The archdiocese, which includes 19 counties, in a statement released Monday said: "Archbishop (Daniel) Pilarczyk apologizes to the people of the archdiocese for the scandal and pain that this event has caused. He affirms again that the church expects its priests to be chaste."
See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.
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