COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- A Catholic priest in Columbus has been placed on leave after allegations of sexual abuse.
Father Ronald J. Atwood, 69, is accused of sexual abuse of a minor, allegedly occurring during his tenure at Bishop Ready High School and St. Stephen the Martyr and St. Peter parishes in Columbus from 1976-1979. The allegations were reported Monday. Church officials then called Franklin County Children Services.
A meeting of the Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children will be convened to determine if the allegation is credible and warrants further investigation.
Priests on administrative leave are prohibited from the public exercise of their priestly ministry. They cannot publicly celebrate sacraments, wear clerical attire, be housed at any parish or on diocesan property, or identify themselves as a member of the clergy.
Father Atwood has been a priest of the Diocese of Columbus since 1969.
His assignments have included: Assistant Pastor, St. Aloysius Church, Columbus (1969-1972); Teacher, Bishop Ready High School, Columbus (1969-1977); Associate Pastor, St. Stephen the Martyr Church, Columbus (1977-1978); Associate Pastor, St. Peter Church, Columbus (1978-1982); Pastor, Church of the Ascension, Johnstown (1982-1991); Pastor, St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Columbus (1991-2003); Associate Pastor; St. Joseph Cathedral, Columbus (2003-2004); and Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Columbus (2004-2013).
The Diocese of Columbus encourages anyone who may have experienced sexual abuse by clergy or others associated with the Church to contact the diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator at 614-224-2251, 866-448-0217, or at email@example.com, and to notify civil authorities.