HIV-positive Ohio priest accused of soliciting sex at park with poppers in SUV
An Ohio priest has been charged with soliciting sex despite being HIV-positive.
The Rev. James McGonegal, pastor of St. Ignatius of Antioch Church in Cleveland, was arrested Friday afternoon in Edgewater Park, reported The Plain Dealer.
An off-duty Metroparks ranger said the priest told him he was “cruising” and offered $50 to help him “get off” before exposing himself and masturbating while sitting in his Jeep SUV.
Officers said the 68-year-old McGonegal had three cock rings and a bottle of “Pig Sweat” poppers, or isobutyl nitrite, in his vehicle when he was arrested.
The ranger said McGonegal told him about his HIV status after he was taken into custody.
The priest was charged with public indecency and abusing harmful intoxicants.
McGonegal was released Saturday morning on personal bond from Cleveland City Jail, and a priest in residence asked parishioners to pray for him during evening Mass but did not specify the reason.
But word quickly spread among the church’s parishioners.
“I don’t feel it’s my place to judge or punish or forgive,” parishioner Larissa Thomas told WJW-TV. “That’s something that he has to work out with God and the courts.”