Newark priest who taught throughout Greater Columbus accused of abuse of a minor in 1990s

The Columbus Dispatch/January 27, 2022

By Danae King

A Newark priest has been put on leave after he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor, which was alleged to have happened in the 1990s.

The Rev. Dean A. Mathewson, 77, was placed on leave by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus on Monday.

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Mathewson is accused of sexually abusing a minor while he was serving at St. Francis de Sales in Newark in the early 1990s.

The diocese said it got the report of this abuse on Jan. 19, according to The Catholic Times, a publication of the diocese, and that the report had already been given to Newark police.

The Newark police said they are investigating the case and that the survivor was between 12 to 14 years of age at the time of the alleged abuse. Police also said the diocese has been cooperative.

Mathewson, who could not be reached for comment, was notified of the allegations against him on Monday and placed on leave as the diocese investigates whether the allegation is credible or not.

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If the diocese review board determines the allegation is credible, his name will be added to a list of 52 other clergymen who have served in the diocese and been "credibly accused" of priest sexual abuse of a minor in the eyes of the diocese.

The list, first with 34 clergy named, came out in March 2019 on the heels of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that revealed more than 1,000 victims of alleged abuse by more than 300 priests over 70 years. The report's release spurred public pressure for dioceses across the country to release such lists telling people which priests were believed to have been abusive to children in their areas.

The Diocesan Board of Review for the Protection of Children, formed in 2003, determines the credibility of accusations using eight factors and will be convened soon, according to the Catholic Times story.

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"If an allegation is determined to be credible, the Diocese of Columbus will execute the necessary judicial and administrative processes," the Times story reads. "A determination of credibility is never to be considered proof of guilt."

The diocese is working to notify people in the diocese and offer more information to parishioners.

Mathewson had a varied list of assignments in Greater Columbus since he began serving in 1973.

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He first taught at St. Francis de Sales High School on Columbus' Northeast Side and was an assistant priest at St. Matthias Church on Columbus' Northeast Side from 1973 to 1977. Then, Mathewson worked at Bishop Flaget High School in Chillicothe and St. Mary Church in Chillicothe from 1977 to 1981. For 10 years, from 1981 to 1991, he served at St. Joseph Parish in LaRue and taught part time at Marion Catholic High School.

Then, from 1991 to 2003, he was at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Newark. From 2003 to 2006, he was an associate pastor at St. Brendan the Navigator Church in Hilliard and since 2006 he has been the diocesan coordinator for priest hospital chaplains, with part-time work as the Catholic chaplain at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

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