By Shelley Grieshop
A former Coldwater associate pastor was arrested last week after authorities allegedly caught him engaging in illegal sexual activity with two males in a Dayton-area park.
The Rev. Clarence Heis, 51, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Fairborn Municipal Court to charges of public indecency and resisting arrest, both fourth-degree misdemeanor charges. He did not appear in court for the arraignment; the plea was submitted on his behalf by his attorney, court officials said.
Heis was allegedly discovered Oct. 19 with two other males -- ages 34 and 51 -- in the Five Rivers MetroParks in Fairborn. The other men were arrested and charged with similar crimes. One of the men also faces a charge of assault on one of the rangers involved in the sting operation and a charge of possessing alcohol in a public park.
Heis was an associate pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Coldwater during a brief period from 1992-1993 before becoming head pastor at St. Michael parish in Mechanicsburg. During Heis' assignment in Coldwater, he was paired with former head pastor Keith Albrecht who was recently defrocked from the church for similar deviant behavior.
Albrecht, now 60, served at the Coldwater church from 1987 until 1993. Heis, ordained in 1982, was placed on indefinite administrative leave by the Cincinnati Archdiocese, effective Oct. 21. During the leave he is prohibited from celebrating any sacraments, engaging in any priestly ministry or presenting himself as a priest in any way.
In a statement released last week, the archdiocese says, "Archbishop Pilarczyk apologizes to the people of the archdiocese for the scandal and pain that this event has caused. He affirms again that the church expects its priests to be chaste."
In the report obtained by The Daily Standard from the Five Rivers MetroParks Ranger Division, all three vehicles driven to the area by each man were impounded by the rangers following the arrest
The report said the three men were having a conversation near the bank of the river when an undercover ranger made their acquaintance. A short time later, the three began engaging in sexual activity, the report stated.
Heis reportedly fled the scene after two undercover rangers identified themselves and announced the trio were under arrest. A short time later, Heis was subsequently arrested and taken into custody without incident while walking southbound along Route 4.