A priest at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral is being accused of trying to meet young boys for sex.
Father Patrick Nicholas Hughes, 56, served at the church located on Goodale Boulevard and North High Street in downtown Columbus. Hughes was a one-year interim priest at the church.
While news of the allegations broke, a church community was left to deal with the shock..
“I’m just stunned,” One church-goer said. “I’m hoping that there’s no truth to it.”
Hughes allegedly posted an online ad suggesting he wanted to have sexual relations with children. Someone responded to that ad, stating that they had a nine and 14-year-old boy available. Hughes agreed to meet up on Thursday.
Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott said the priest was talking to a detective the entire time.
Church officials released a statement Thursday evening and said that it was not the church’s purpose to speculate.
“As a community, we are in a collective state of shock and disbelief regarding the events surrounding the acting Dean of the Cathedral. He has faithfully served this parish in a temporary capacity for the past year,” officials said.
Scott said he did not believe any of the misconduct occurred at the church, but feared there may be other victims in this case.
Church officials said that they would launch their own investigation to ensure there were no other victims.
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