The Rev. James McGonegal, pastor of a West Side Cleveland Catholic church, was charged today with soliciting sex while being HIV-positive. He had been arrested Friday in Edgewater Park.
In the incident report released today, an off-duty Cleveland Metroparks ranger said McGonegal offered the ranger $50 to help him “get off,” then exposed himself and masturbated, all while sitting inside his late-model Jeep SUV.
The report said McGonegal had three sex devices in his Jeep when he was arrested around 12:45 p.m.
The priest, 68, was released on personal bond from Cleveland City Jail this morning other media reports said. He has not been arraigned as the charges were not filed until around noon.
McGonegal has been pastor at St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, at Lorain Avenue and West Boulevard, since the mid-1980s. He has been a priest since 1971.
At a mass this evening at the church, the only mention of the incident was at the start when a lector greeted the 140 people in attendance and said, “Today we pray for this parish, and our pastor.” A priest in residence at St. Ignatius said the mass.
Meantime, my blog neighbor Frank Weathers is putting stories like this one into context—and offering suggestions about what all of us can do, beginning with prayer and fasting.
Yes: pray and fast. And in our praying, let us remember in a special way the good people of St. Ignatius Church in Cleveland and all who are impacted by this story—one which offers further proof, if any were needed, that Satan never takes a day off.