Reports: Priest charged after pushing woman, telling her to leave ‘his church’

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GENEVA, Ohio — A Catholic priest is facing criminal charges in connection with an angry confrontation with a parishioner inside a local church.

According to a police report, a Geneva woman said the trouble started when she and two other worshipers were praying after mass at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. The priest allegedly walked in and began speaking to another group of parishioners in a loud voice.

The woman, Valerie Ferrante, 51, said she asked Father Robert Lanterman if he could take his conversation elsewhere. Then, she said he began to shout at her, telling her “You can leave or find the door if you don’t like it.”

He later reportedly said, “You will never do that again. This is my church. You will never do this again, so help me God.”

According to the police report, when another female parishioner attempted to intervene, Lanterman allegedly told her to shut up. He also allegedly grabbed Ferrante by the arm, shoving and pushing her toward a pew on the other side of an aisle in the church.

He’s been charged with assault and disorderly conduct.

Lanterman pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment on Sept. 25.

Fox 8 did reach out to Lanterman, but he has not yet returned calls for comment.