Bishop Watterson Parent Says He Was Assaulted When He Tried To Confront Columbus Bishop


UPDATED: Monday April 29, 2013 6:49 PM

A parent of a Bishop Watterson high school student confronted the Bishop of the Columbus Diocese Sunday, demanding he take responsibility for the decision fire a gay teacher.

“I did a lot of praying about this before I took this stance," said John Petrucci.

Petrucci is a 1974 graduate of the school and says he has no issue about Carla Hale's firing after her partner's name was publicized in Hale's mother's obituary.
 
Petrucci says he's angry because he claims Bishop Frederick Campbell continues to hide behind the walls of the church, as a media blitz takes aim at the school.

"Our Bishop, who made that call, won't come out publicly and say, ‘Hey, I made that call, and if you want to spew some vitriol, stop spewing it at the kids. They didn't have anything to do with it. Come downtown and spew it at me,’" Petrucci said.

He confronted the Bishop at a diocesan meeting Sunday, and as he approached Bishop Petrucci, he said he was cut off and forcibly removed from the gathering.

“Two guys came up behind me, then there was a priest coming up in front of me with what I would call hatred in his eyes, and I was escorted off," Petrucci said.

After the Sunday incident, Petrucci filed a police report in Upper Arlington on Monday, claiming he was assaulted during the meeting.  

Petrucci says he got checked out at a local hospital Sunday for possible injuries.

He says he has muscle strains on his left side and possibly a hairline fracture of the scapula.

In a statement on Monday, the Columbus Diocese stated: “No extraordinary force was either required or applied in this process.”

"Did I get hurt physically? Yes. Was I humiliated by being physically dragged out of the mitre society, you bet I was,” Petrucci said. “But you know what?  I did it for my son, and I'd do it again tomorrow."

He says Bishop Campbell must take charge, and Petrucci is concerned about recent alleged threats directed toward the school.

"What parent in this country, with all the crazy things going on today - with the Boston Marathon and Newtown - what parent wouldn't do everything they possibly could to get between their kids and potential harm," Petrucci said.

For the first time, The Columbus Diocese commented specifically about the Carla Hale case and its effect on the community.

The diocesan statement said, “Bishop Campbell is aware of the passions that have surrounded the Carla Hale issue and is deeply concerned about the anxiety and alarm it has created within our community.  He encourages all -- on either side of this subject -- to maintain civility and calm while the grievance process in this case moves forward."

Hale's attorney tells 10TV he has sent a complaint to the Catholic Teacher’s union committee, to consider his client’s claim for reinstatement to her position at Bishop Watterson.

Attorney Tom Tootle plans to file an official complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission on her behalf on Tuesday.

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