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05-25-06 Former Coldwater priest to serve jail term

By Shelley Grieshop

  A former Coldwater priest was sentenced this morning to 10 days in jail for engaging in illegal sexual activity with two men in a Dayton-area public park in October.

  The Rev. Clarence Heis, 52, appeared today in Fairborn Municipal Court for sentencing after pleading guilty in late March to public indecency and resisting arrest. He was ordered to begin serving the time at Greene County Jail on June 6.

  Heis, the associate pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church from 1992-1993, also was placed on a five-year term of probation. He had faced a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

  According to a report from the Five Rivers MetroParks Ranger Division, Heis and two Beavercreek-area males, ages 34 and 51, were arrested during an undercover sting operation Oct. 19. A ranger witnessed all three engaging in sexual activity in the park about 6:30 p.m.

  Heis fled on foot after the park rangers identified themselves and was arrested a brief time later walking southbound along Route 4. The other two men were arrested at the scene and charged with similar violations.  Heis was ordained a Catholic priest in 1982 and most recently served as senior pastor at St. Michael parish in Mechanicsburg and Immaculate Conception parish in North Lewisburg.

  Following his arrest in October, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati placed Heis on indefinite administrative leave, prohibiting him from celebrating any sacraments, engaging in any priestly ministry or presenting himself as a priest in any way.

  The archdiocese did not immediately release a statement following Heis' sentencing today.


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