Tuesday, February 27, 2018

OCSP Priest Charged In Bizarre Case

According to this blog,
The first married Catholic priest in the state of Indiana is facing prison time as he heads to trial on charges he kidnapped and assaulted his wife.

Rev. Luke W. Reese, 48, the parochial vicar at Holy Rosary parish in Indianapolis is charged with criminal confinement with bodily injury, criminal confinement where a vehicle is used, kidnapping, domestic battery, battery resulting in bodily injury, and intimidation following a Sept. 24 incident in which he allegedly beat his wife* inside his church, and then sexually assaulted her over the course of an 18-hour ordeal.

Reese is a married Anglican priest who entered the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. Reese and his wife have been married for 25 years and have seven children. According to court documents, Reese’s superiors already knew that he reportedly provided alcohol to minors, got intoxicated with minors, and shared white supremacist material with young people. After seeing his wife’s bruised and swollen face, his superiors suspended him.

. . . . According to the probable cause affidavit filed in the Marion County Court, on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 24, Reese, wearing clerical garb, confronted his wife while she was in the backseat of a car with another man, Jay Stanley. According to the affidavit, Stanley was engaged in a romantic relationship with the wife.

Reese angrily demanded that his wife come with him. She instead got into her own car and agreed to drive to a specific location with Reese so they could get out and talk, according to the affidavit, written by Indianapolis Police Detective Erroll Malone. Before leaving with his wife, Reese opened the door to Stanley’s car and kicked him in the face. Stanley said Monday he’s not sure why he didn’t call police after he was assaulted and the wife went away with her angry and violent husband.

Additional scandalous material is omitted here.
Reese was arrested soon after the report was made, and was charged with felonies. He is currently free after posting $2,495 on a $25,000 Corporate Surety bond. His trial is scheduled for May. In December, Reese filed for divorce from his wife.

Holy Rosary placed Reese on six months leave in October. The archdiocesan website says only that Reese was “granted a six-month leave of absence.”

According to the affidavit, Reese’s superiors were already aware of other issues concerning Reese. The wife told police Reese was already in “hot water” over two incidents: One in which he reportedly supplied alcohol to minors and got intoxicated with them, and another in which he shared white supremacist materials with young people. Those incidents were reported by parents to church officials, according to the affidavit.

The wife also told police that Reese had been abusive to the family for quite some time before the Sept. 24 incident.

Greg Otolski, communications director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis declined numerous requests for comment. We also reached out to officials in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, based in Houston, Texas. Bishop Steven Lopes of Houston is Reese’s bishop. The communications director in Houston has not returned our calls.

The only other information I've been able to find on Fr Reese on the web is this story covering his 2016 diaconal ordination.
On June 29, transitional Deacon Luke Reese, a former Anglican priest, will become the first married priest in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis when he is ordained in a liturgy witnessed by his wife Gina of 24 years and their seven children. . . . They and two other families were the first from an Anglican background in central and southern Indiana accepted as members of the Houston-based Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which was established in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. The ordinariate functions like a diocese for former Anglicans and Episcopalians in the United States and Canada.

Throughout nearly 25 years of marriage, Deacon Reese has sought to show Christ’s face to Gina and their children through his loving care and concern for them.

As a priest, he’ll also do this for a broader spiritual family.

“I think my experience as a father is going to be invaluable in thinking of my congregation as my spiritual children,” Deacon Reese said. “It’s not a one-time thing. Everybody is a project. We’re all saints in the making.”

Deacon Reese became a priest in the making shortly after he and his family were received into the Church in 2012.

He had been ordained a priest in the Anglican tradition about 10 years ago. To be properly formed for priestly life and ministry as a Catholic, he began commuting in the fall of 2012 from his family’s home in Indianapolis to Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad.

He also received assistance from the archdiocesan vicariate for clergy, religious and parish life coordinators in formation for pastoral ministry.

Although he has now been in formation for the priesthood for four years, when asked how he views his upcoming ordination he says with a laugh, “Scary.”

“I don’t know if you can ever really be ready for something as big as the priesthood,” Deacon Reese said. “There are a lot of expectations placed upon a man who is put up in front of a congregation. He needs to be a solid leader.

“He just doesn’t say Mass for people. He provides an example.”

My regular correspondent commented,
I have been following the career of this man since The Anglo-Catholic blog days. He had a small ACC parish at that time (since about 2006) and supported his family by among other things making Communion hosts. Lots of family pix, all the females in chapel veils as I recall. In 2012 he and his family entered the Church and he became the Music Director at Holy Rosary, Indianapolis. His degree was in music and he did full-time seminary study at St Meinrad before being ordained in 2016. Holy Rosary has a DW, EF, and OF mass every Sunday, and Fr Reese was involved with all three, which sounds to me like an interesting model. So this comes as quite a shock. Obviously a very large and opaque veil has been drawn over this in OCSP circles.
Both the blogger and the visitor who sent me the link expressed concern that the response from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, and by implication the OCSP, appears to have been inadequate. It apears that there was no shortage of past history here, including providing alcohol to minors, a major, major red flag.

We'll probably never learn much more. On the other hand, Bp Lopes's colleagues must by now be fully aware of this situation, which was almost simultaneous with Fr Kenyon's disastrous tenure in Stockport, UK.