INDIANAPOLIS — A married Catholic priest in the Indianapolis archdiocese faces several criminal domestic violence charges after he allegedly assaulted his wife in September 2017.
The priest serves the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a special Church jurisdiction set up for Anglicans who wished to enter the Catholic Church, often as a group, while retaining many of their customs. Because they come from the Anglican tradition, some priests in the ordinariate are married.
The ordinariate said in a statement that it is “committed to collaborating with authorities to ensure justice is provided for all concerned, and affirms the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that domestic violence is never justified,” the Indianapolis television station FOX59 reported.
Father Luke W. Reese, 49, is charged with kidnapping, criminal confinement, intimidation, and domestic battery in a Sept. 24 incident, after he allegedly discovered his wife was having an affair.
According to The Indianapolis Star, charges were filed in October 2017. The Star said the story was initially reported by independent journalist Damien Fisher.
A former Anglican clergyman ordained as a Catholic priest in June 2016 for the ordinariate, Father Reese was serving at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Indianapolis.
The victim’s probable cause affidavit said she was in the backseat of a vehicle with a man when Father Reese arrived and told her to get out. He then allegedly drove her around the city as he hit her and played loud heavy metal music. He allegedly took her to Holy Rosary Church and, the victim claims, forced her to kneel at the altar. According to the affidavit, he said he could choke her, then slammed her into a wall and hit her head on their vehicle before they left.
He reportedly drove his wife to Auburn to force her to tell her grandmother what had happened. When they returned home, the priest allegedly forced her to have sexual relations.
The ordinariate said the priest was put on administrative leave on Sept. 27, 2017, “when he disclosed actions that resulted in criminal charges related to domestic violence.”
Mary Foley Panszi, the alleged victim’s attorney, said, “It is unfortunate when anyone is a victim of domestic violence or physical abuse.” She lamented comments “from people within the church and the greater Indiana community at large, saying it must be the victim’s fault,” given the current environment in which men and women are “much more conscious and aware of the devastation that is caused to the abused victims and their families.”
Soon after the alleged assault, Holy Rosary pastor Father C. Ryan McCarthy said in a church bulletin announcement that Father Reese had notified him of “some personal and family issues which would require a greater amount of his attention.” Father Reese had asked for a leave of absence from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, who granted a leave of absence of indeterminate length.
The pastor asked the parish to respect the privacy of Reese and his family and continue to pray for them.