Former Columbiana County priest accused of abusing minors
A retired priest whose list of assignments once included Columbiana County is accused of sexually abusing minors.
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus on Tuesday announced that former priest David Schilder, 77, has been added to the lists of priests “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor.
According to a statement issued by the diocese, Schilder resided at St. Paul Parish in Salem while serving as Chaplain at the Elkton Federal Correction Institution in Columbiana County from 1997 to 2001.
In July 2004, the Diocese of Columbus says it received a partial and incomplete report of possible sexual abuse of a minor regarding Father Schilder. The report did not provide specifics relating to the alleged conduct but indicated that the alleged conduct occurred in 1968, according to church officials.
“Because of the incompleteness of the report, no determination as to credibility was possible at that time, and no process to remove Father Schilder from the priesthood could be initiated,” says the statement from the diocese.
The allegation was reported to Franklin County Children Services on July 16, 2004. Schilder retired for health reasons and was instructed not to engage in public ministry as a priest.
On September 16, 2019, the second accusation of sexual abuse of a minor, allegedly occurring sometime during the 1981 to 1983 time period, was reported to the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator.
Diocesan officials reported the allegation to the Columbus Police, notified Father Schilder of the allegation, and commissioned an independent third party investigation of the allegation.
The investigators interviewed both the alleged victim and Father Schilder, who denied ever sexually abusing a minor.
Last month, a meeting of the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children was convened to assess the results of the investigation and make a recommendation to the Bishop as to whether the allegations against Father Schilder appeared to be credible.
The Review Board found the allegations credible and made a recommendation to the Bishop that Father Schilder’s name be added to the list of priests credibly accused.
Bishop Brennan has accepted that recommendation and has placed Father Schilder on administrative leave pending further canonical and administrative processes.
Plans are underway to set up outreach in the Diocese, and more information will be provided to parishioners in the Diocese in the near future.
Additionally, Bishop Robert Brennan has directed that the third party investigators who investigated the allegations against Father Schilder continue their investigation to ensure that anyone who may have been abused by Father Schilder is identified and their needs addressed.
The Diocese says it will report the results of its investigation to the proper local authorities and will cooperate with local law enforcement in any way requested.
Father Schilder began serving as a priest of the Diocese of Columbus in 1968.
His assignments have included:
1968-1969 Assistant Pastor, Holy Rosary Parish, Columbus
1969-1970 Assistant Pastor, St. Timothy Parish, Columbus
1969-1970 Teacher, Bishop Ready High School, Columbus
1970-1976 Chaplain, Chillicothe Correctional Institution
1976-1977 Assistant Pastor, St. Agnes Parish, Columbus
1977-1978 Associate Director of Catholic Cemeteries, with residence at St. Joseph Cemetery
1978-1984 Director of Catholic Cemeteries
1973-1975 Chaplain, Central Ohio Council, Boy Scouts of America
1985-1986 Orient Correctional Institution, with residence at Corpus Christi Parish, Columbus, later in
residence, St. Ladislas Parish, Columbus (1986-1997)
1997-2001 Chaplain, Elkton Federal Correction Institution, with residence at St. Paul Parish, Salem, Ohio, Youngstown Diocese
2001-2004 Chaplain, Ashland Federal Correction Institution, Ashland, Kentucky (2001-2004).
The Diocese of Columbus says it is encouraging anyone who may have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated with the Church to notify law enforcement immediately and also the Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at 614-224-2251, 866-448-0217, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forms for reporting abuse are available in Catholic parish and school offices and can be accessed from the diocesan website (www.columbuscatholic.org).