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Morrier is booked into jail

STEUBENVILLE — The friar who admitted he sexually assaulted a student he professed to be counseling at Franciscan University of Steubenville has been booked into the Jefferson County jail.

David Morrier, 60, informed Judge Joseph Bruzzese Friday he can no longer stay at the Granard Parkway location where he’d originally been told he could stay, under house arrest and wearing an ankle monitor, until Pennsylvania authorities were prepared to take jurisdiction over him. That being the case, the judge promptly ordered the friar to report to the jail until such time as “a residence can be determined.”

Morrier had pleaded guilty March 11 to the sexual battery of a female student, admitting he used his position and the victim’s troubled past to engage in sexual conduct with (her) many times over a period of three years, beginning in 2010.

He’d originally been charged in April 2021 with two counts of rape as well as sexual battery.

Authorities had described him as a predator who “looked for and found a victim he thought no one else would believe,” saying he weaponized the abuse the woman had previously endured at the hands of a family member, manipulating her into believing she was possessed by demons and that God had tasked him with healing her through a series of exorcisms and deliverances, and coerced her into performing sexual acts in Finnegan’s fieldhouse, the chapel and the confessional.

Prosecutors had said his victim agreed to the plea deal to ensure Morrier would carry a “warning label” that he was a sex offender, thereby ensuring he could never again victimize another woman as he had her. Had the case gone to trial, if just one juror felt the state fell short of proving its case he could have walked out of court without any restrictions, a risk prosecutors said his victim felt she couldn’t take.

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