Wednesday, March 01, 2000

Reverend faces four counts of molesting 2 boys

Mom put them in his care when out of town

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Rev. Phillip Dumke was one of the first to offer his help a few years ago to a young widow struggling to raise two boys.

        Prosecutors say the Rev. Mr. Dumke often invited the boys to his home, involved them in church activities and looked out for them when their mother was out of town.

        At least four times, they say, he also sexually molested them.

        The Rev. Mr. Dumke, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church on Boudinot Avenue, was indicted Tuesday on four counts of gross sexual imposition. If he is convicted, he could face up to 13 years in prison.

        Prosecutor Mike Allen said the Rev. Mr. Dumke, 59, fondled each boy on at least two occasions between 1991 and 1997.

        He said the incidents occurred at the pastor's home and at least once at the church.

        “What should have been sacrosanct appears to have been grossly violated,” Mr. Allen said in a statement.

        He said the boys, now ages 15 and 18, trusted the pastor and looked to him as a father figure after the death of their dad.

        The Rev. Mr. Dumke's attorney, Tom Miller, said his client denies the accusations and will fight the charges in court.

        He said the Rev. Mr. Dumke remains a respected member of the community and a pastor at Grace Lutheran. A church official confirmed Tuesday the Rev. Mr. Dumke still is pastor at the church.

        This case will be tried in a courtroom and not in the media,” Mr. Miller said. “We'll tell our side in a courtroom.

        He said prosecutors have no evidence to support the charges other than the word of the boys.

        “Pastor Dumke adamantly denies these uncorroborated accusations,” Mr. Miller said.

        Mr. Allen said the allegations first surfaced when the older brother made the claims during a drug and alcohol counseling session.

        He said the younger brother made a similar claim a short time later.


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