Authorities in Ohio have arrested a 45-year-old Glouster priest on suspicion of sexually abusing a teen girl at his church over a two-month period earlier this year.
According to the Miami Herald,, Father Henry Christopher Foxhoven is expected to face criminal charges including eight counts of sexual battery.
The Athens County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest in a recent press release, indicating the suspect is accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old Holy Cross altar girl beginning in August.
Reports show the alleged victim is now pregnant.
Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn released a statement decrying the alleged behavior by someone with “a position of trust” in the community.
“The state would allege that she’s been groomed and that she’s in love with him and thinks that they’re going to have a future together, and she’s pregnant with his child,” the prosecutor said.
Media reports indicate police believe the priest had been preparing the girl for a sexual encounter for years prior to the first act. Authorities became involved in the case when the Steubenville Diocese reported allegations to the local sheriff’s office.
The diocese also suspended the priest at that time, as Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton explained in a media statement.
“Father Foxhoven cannot exercise any sacred ministry or perform any ecclesiastical function, dress in clerical garb, or present himself as a priest. We must remain vigilant in assisting victims of sexual abuse. We will cooperate with authorities and assist in their investigation of this case.”
As part of their investigation, deputies reportedly found “evidence of criminal activity” at the suspect’s home, including used condoms and a pregnancy test showing a positive result.
Prosecutors claim the sexual battery did not take place inside the church, but on the property.
As of the latest reports available, Foxhoven was being held behind bars with bail set at $1 million. He is set to appear in court again next month.
[Featured image: Henry Christopher Foxhoven, Athens County Sheriff’s Office]