Band director guest on 'Between the Lines'

Sandusky Register Staff
Jan 19, 2014


Former Sandusky Central Catholic band and choir director Brian Panetta was our guest today on Between the Lines.

Click HERE to read more about Panetta's termination from the school

Panetta lost his job after nearly five years when he announced his engagement to Nathan David, a man he's been dating for about as long as he was employed with the school. The decision to let Panetta go created a firestorm in the community, with many St. Mary families supporting both Panetta and the school in a difficult circumstance. 

Register education reporter Alissa Widman was also a guest. 

The program, and previous "Between the Lines" segments, are always available HERE

Watch the program in the player below



My question is this: would smcc take tuition from a family who is not living up to catholic standards? What if the family were living in sin, or the children were raised by same-sex parents? Is it ok to justify going against catholic principles in those cases?????


They would take it but, they didn't sign a terms of employment contract, which is what he did and violated. Pretty simple.


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Um, no. Not "pretty simple." You can't enforce illegal provisions of a contract, so interpreting and enforcing a contract in a way that results in illegal discrimination doesn't work.

Dr. Information

Love614. If you understand anything in the bible and what it teaches, we are all sinners. Its repenting, learning your lesson and not repeating that same sin over and over knowing fully well you are sinning.



liz garland's picture
liz garland

I'd only hope local supporters of equal rights, LGBT issues, etc would contact CNN's "The Ridiculist", "20/20", "Nightline", TV's "Ellen" talk show, "The View", "The Talk" and other mainstream television shows to nationally discuss this issue as well as related issues. St. Mary's and the diocese need to be exposed for the homophobic bigots that they are! I know of two local priests have been spotted at gay bars in the 'wee small hours of the morning', one of whom was publicly acting inappropriately. Let's discuss the inappropriate, closeted behavior that is well known at local 'cruising areas'. Aren't these men the supposed 'exemplary straight, married leaders of our community"?
This pure ignorance must be exposed nationally! Both our diocese and community is spewing a double standard to our youth. I encourage you to contact national mainstream television media. I for one, am sick of Sandusky's "don't ask, don't tell" attitude not only towards the openly gay LGBT community but to those who struggle with their identity on a daily basis. Gay is ok!


*Standing ovation* :)


are you serious . you cannot watch television for 2 hrs without gay references. its a movement tv has pushed

Panther Student

I would just like to say that we are not homophobes and we are not bigots. SMCC was more than compassionate and welcoming towards Mr. Panetta. The students loved him and so did the staff! We will miss him dearly, but we understand the terms of the situation and so does Mr. Panetta. You are misinformed.

John Harville

Panther Students: You should be asking your President and Board of Directors why there was a rush to judgment.
There were many options - she/they chose the worst.
Now PANTHER DYNASTY has gone viral internationally.
No one in a position of power considered the ramifications of this action for students.
Have YOU considered any feelings beyond your own? What about students in the elementary classes? What about the hundreds of persons listed in the Annual Report who have given millions to your school?
"The students loved him..." How have you demonstrated that love and respect?


Just curious John....were you there when this situation was being discussed with the school leader and diocese? Were you there, in the room, when those in a "position of power" DIDN'T consider ramifications of this action for students? Do you KNOW for sure - not because of rumors or gossip - but because they told you themselves, that other staff members are breaking the contract? Do you KNOW for SURE that those same staff members aren't being ministered to? You're so quick to make bold statements about the players in the situation....I'd just like to know how YOU KNOW!

John Harville

I questioned IF they considered those ramifications. Perhaps they did and that's why they are letting this all play out in hopes they won't have to take responsibility.
I DO know personally about other employees and their actions.
I know because of the circles in which I navigate.

John Harville

Panther Student: your post puts you and others in 'danger' of violating the very 'rule' and Cathechism that was the downfall of the band/choir director.

You cannot embrace Mr. Panetta without embracing his sexuality and lifestyle - and 2357 of the Cathechism says you cannot embrace and welcome him without embracing and welcoming his lifestyle.

I pray the school officials do not identify you from this PUBLIC proclamation of your support for Mr. Panetta and knowing acceptance of his lifestyle. Godspeed!


While we all have opinions, there is only one truth. To state, we are not all "homophobic bigots". We have deep compassion for our former band teacher and all homosexuals. We do not condemn anyone and accept everyone with open arms. During interviews and letters, it has been stated that he resigned on his own terms in acknowledgment of his violation of a contract he willingly signed at the beginning of this year.
Secondly, we are all sinners, doesn't matter who you are or where you have been. Even the pope of the Catholic Church is a sinner. And for the two priests you have brought forth, I can not speak for them do to the fact that I have not heard any news pertaining to the subject. One, it is not yours nor my business what happens in their personal lives. And two, the priests that we currently employ are some of the most influential people I have met. Yes, I agree if some attended events stated previously, they should receive Reconciliation. And I am sure they have, but its not a public discussion.

John Harville

There is only one truth, one commandment:


Is this truth at the very core of your being?

It was the core of my theology classes.
It is the core of what I teach/share in CCD Confirmation classes.

It's also what I kept in mind as I helped in the legal defense of the Diocese when several priests admitted to molesting boys and girls - after the Church locally and in the Diocese spent decades covering p the abuse and 'passing along' priests to other parishes where they continued their evil ways.

Exactly when were you 'elected' to be the spokesperson for ALL the students and staff and to express the 'deep compassion' of all?

Donald Szpozors's picture
Donald Szpozors

receive Reconciliation? If these closeted Northcoast area priests are acting inappropriately and sexually at a local gay establishment like a club/bar "or" are exhibiting lewd behavior in a public area well known for 'cruising', then why should "THEY" not face consequences as well? Or is it the typical Northwest Ohio reaction of "Well......don't ask, don't tell"? Is it because they are leaders of our community and we don't want to believe that they could exhibit these behaviors? Because they do. They do it on a regular basis. The church and local mentality is a fallacy. Fire an exemplary and professional teacher who lives his life openly with pride and love but maintain the employ of sexually active closeted priests. That sounds like our diocese!

If we, as a community, were more prone to accept homosexuality as equal, then there wouldn't be any discussion. But now I welcome the constant LGBT exposure into community discussion and media.

Reconciliation will "not" stop the recidivist behaviors so well known by these closeted priests and community members. And as far as condemning, I haven't lived in a region that was more than condemning than here. Gotta love the sickening belief that "Ohh its ok if you're gay, we'll love and accept long as you don't 'act' on your impulses and have sex.". Give me a break. Ms. Garland has the right idea- I would hope that there would be those of you active in our community who have emotionally been impacted by this case or by a similar familial situation that would join in flinging open those closet doors of Sandusky and its surrounding small towns, exposing all the closet cases and homophobia! Contact those national television news programs and talk shows. CNN's "The Ridiculist" are you listening? This is prime material! "Ellen", "20/20", "Nightline", "The Talk", "The View", etc.


There are some very nasty people in Sandusky who, if we did identify ourselves as gay or supporting gays or calling out the people who are hypocrites, would want to seek retribution and punishment.

John Harville

Again. As a student/Catholic you CANNOT "accept everyone with open arms" because to do so implies acceptance of his/her sexuality and sexual practice.

I hope you cannot be identified.

It may even be that your mortal soul is in peril.

And two: some of the priests "we currently employ" have 'issues' that have driven parishioners out of their churches and the larger Church.


Unfortunately the Church is racked with hypocrisy. The signed contract was ignored for years, and applied consistently.

Smcc Alum

Sugar, try to read this with an open mind.

The contract was not ignored. The Catholic Church is not against being Homosexual. The Church is against the "sexual act" of homosexuality. This is because a baby comes from a man and a women. We believe that marriage should stay that way. That being said, Brian could not have been fired simply for being a homosexual. So why was he fired you might ask?

The sacrament of marriage is not completed until the marriage is consummated. Therefore, the consummation of the marriage MUST take place for the two to truly be married. The Church is against the sexual act that comes with homosexuality. That being said, the marriage could never set well with the Church because in order for it to be completed, it must be consummated. This is impossible for two men to do. A man and a woman can reproduce by this act,(i'm sure you know this). However, a man and another man cannot reproduce. Therefore an announcement of engagement takes homosexuality a step further, indirectly saying that they disagree with what the church says about those "acts" and that the two of them will be committed to each other for the rest of their lives. Once again, the Church is against this. So they let him go.

(Tried to censor the above paragraph the best I could)

In conclusion, he was not fired for being gay and the contract was not ignored for years. You and your pal "Cody" like to claim that we are throwing gays under the bus. Cody even asked, what would we do to LGBT students if we have any. Well, we would treat them how we treated Mr. Panetta, normally. Just like everyone else. There is no hatred or discrimination. We all are friends regardless of each others sexuality.

Don't like our religion? that's fine, not everybody does. You should try something else that makes you happy. I'm not going to try to stop you from commenting. I could care less, and you have every right to continue. However, I will keep trying to explain to you the true reasons on why he was let go. You can continue to believe what you want and attract negative attention to yourself. But the facts are right above you in the paragraphs I just wrote. I will pray that you understand.


I get what you are saying smcc student but they are going to consummate their marriage the same way they expressed their love for each other many nights before arriving at a band director.... the next day. He should have kept his plans to himself.

John Harville

SMCC STUDENT: Who teaches you theology? If you want to take this tack, then you must begin by stating the ONLY REASON the Church sets for marriage - PROCREATION of baby Catholics and PROPAGATION of the faith. The sexual act is ONLY for creation of babies.

For that reason the Church also considers in-vitro conception a sin... the Church even teaches children of in-vitro conception "have no souls". There also is the issue that often some in-vitro embryos are not implanted and left to languish, even perish. Since life begins as conception, these are abortions.

Two men CAN create a child through in-vitro or surrogacy - a child created with a mother.

But the Church reduces HOLY MATRIMONY to the sexual act - or as you said, 'consummation'. It's not about love between two persons. It's about the penile/vaginal penetration and ejaculation.

That's why self-manipulation and 'spilling of the seed' also is a sin as is any act individually or between ANY TWO persons that interferes with sperm-ovum unity.

However, please describe for this Catechetical how one treats LGBT students... and Mr. Panetta 'normally'. Oh, and how will you identify them unless they state the fact? Have you stated you are heterosexual? And when did you decide you would be hetero?

Smcc Alum

The sexual act isn't just for reproductive purposes, it is also for strengthening the bond between the two. Church also does not teach that children of in-vitro conception have no souls. Two men can't create a child through intercourse.

John Harville

Read your Catechism!!! The sexual act is ALWAYS for procreation.
Your first purpose in 'strengthening the bond' is the creation of life. Read CCC 2357 et seq.
I DID NOT SAY the Church teaches in-vitro children have no souls. I said clergy to whom the question was asked why the church is opposed to in-vitro gave that answer. Careful... you just PUBLICLY supported in-vitro.
To take your tack, the Church ALSO TEACHES that life begins at conception. Therefore in-vitro embryos parents CHOOSE not to implant in the mother are abortions - especially if the parents don't keep up the payments on their storage. Have I seen you protesting these abortions or heard any clergy preach about it?
The Church also does not allow surrogacy although it may be the only way loving parents can conceive.
As for two men being unable... you DID mean to state 'sexual' intercourse, right? Because two men with a loving woman CAN create an infant.
Have your theology teacher explain the definition of 'intercourse'. Actually, you are having intercourse with every person who reads your posts.
I hope your parents aren't paying for your SCCS education. With your comments on this blog, you would have failed at least one portion of my Confirmation class.


inconsistently excuse me .


All Catholics and all people, as the church teaches, are SINNERS.
That's except for me of course.

John Harville

We all were born in original sin.
By Grace however, we have only to apologize to those we've wronged and forgive those who have 'trespassed' against us to recieve the full pardon Christ purchased for us.
We live in Salvation - but so often we refuse to act within it.


Those who never read the Bible are ignorant of its teaching where St Paul stated that NO other sin affects a person and society as sexual sins do. Sin is sin BUT there are different degrees/levels of sin. Take for example, the punishments for different sins require different levels of punishment, Execution for murder but not for theft. The outward act of sodomy is cause for execution. You can argue with God about this, I and the Church didn't write the rules.

John Harville

What is sodomy?

St. Paul said a lot of things - the Roman Jew who deserted his wife and family and went off to tell others how to live.

St. Paul who said his contemporaries should not change their status because Christ would return before they died.

St. Paul who said women should not instruct men on matters of faith and belief.

St. Paul who told the prostitutes to keep their heads covered in church since uncovering the head meant they were 'open'. The Church, of course, for centuries used this to require women to have their heads covered in Church.

And different sins require different punishments... the Church would have tied you to a stake, put gunpowder between your legs, piled fagots (wood) around you and set you afire for heresy for daring to read the Bible and talk about what it means.

It would seem at least one - you - who has read the Bible is also ignorant of its teachings.


SMCC knew of the relationship and it seemed to be acceptable until Mr. Panetta's announcement of wedding plans.
If the church had cleaned up their act after the revelations of the pediphile priests instead of simply moving them to other churches, perhaps this wouldn't appear so hypocritical.


How about Pannetta cleaning up HIS ACT! Its HIS lifestyle that is in sin. Bet Matt doesn't consider the teachings of the Church and the Bible, its obvious over the years that he's a progressive with no absolutes.


It's also obvious that you are someone who can label others and spit out Bible verses, but have little or no compassion for fellow human beings. What would Jesus do?


WWJD = fire him.

John Harville

Even the Church does not call homosexuality a sin.

His lifestyle is loving and committing to another human being.

The ONLY reason the Church is opposed to it is because the Church wants sex to produce baby Catholics - even more desperately needed now that so many millions of Catholics are leaving the Church.
As for teachings of the Church and the Bible - Catholics and 'Christians' commenting on here.


I don't disagree with your last statement, but obviously the church cannot abandon all of its belief's in order to satisfy you because of mistakes made by some in the past. As you see it, they have no ground to take a moral stand on ANY issue. That is not realistic.

It appears they had a don't ask/don't tell type of unwritten policy - if you live a lifestyle outside of our teaching, you are welcome here as long as you keep it to yourself. From the interview Brian seemed to understand this. He is a good person, and I wish him well.


Mr. Panetta telling his superior of his engagement put her in a difficult position.

IMO, she had little alternative but to 'kick it up' the chain of command.

He may have wanted to take a hypothetical approach, i.e. tell without 'really' telling.

Politics is the art of deception.

John Harville

INHO All evidence presented indicates Mrs. Curtis acted unilaterally virtually within minutes or hours. Certainly such action required more time and should have involved legal consultation with the Diocese which would face the possible federal lawsuit.

There is no indication of a Board meeting, of a meeting with the religious leaders, or even following their own written policy for terminating a contract - at most he should have been put on paid leave until all the Ts and Is had been crossed and dotted.

Knowing the people on the Board, I assure you if one of the staff came to Melody and said he had donated sperm, or assisted a female relative in getting an abortion (or a female employee had aborted) or had been discovered cohabiting, the action would have followed the prescribed protocol.

IMHO - and in research I've conducted - Mrs. Curtis has a record of acting without forethought or with a kneejerk.


I would like to see a case like this go to the Supreme Court to be decided. Federal laws versus church law.


It was not church law it was the contract he signed

John Harville

WHAT? You've never heard of 'contract law'?

He was told specifically it was a violation of Church law.

The contract is an agreement legally binding on both parties.

John Harville

dearme really! the contract is explained by the school and the Diocese as 'church law' - whence came the language in the contract.


So the simple thing would have been to keep it to himself until the end of the school year, as he was moving anyway. And then write his farewell / marriage announcement letter to his students when he decided to move on.

Would that not have made more common sense?


Let me open with - I don't know this young man. But after the 100's of comments etc., it appears that he has chosen to be open regarding every aspect of his life, and would have bothered him to not be forthright out of the gate. Of course I could be completely off-track.

Don't get me wrong - Your thought crossed my mind. But Sister Doleratta always said - "Sins of Omission are sins just the same."


I think nowadays teachers are too open about their personal lives. They are trying to be friends to their students instead of teachers. I never wanted to know that much about my teachers when I was in school. FYI: I don't know this man, either.

There again, things were different back then.

Pirate Mom

How many teachers' classrooms are you in? My kids have been out of school for 4+ years and I don't remember them knowing intimate details about their teachers. I guess in public schools teachers have to be more careful. :)


I used past tense. Back when I was in school I didn't know about my teachers' personal stuff. Nor did I want to. I had two gay teachers ( we all knew ) it was one of those open secret , they weren't a couple but both good teachers, But it isn't as though they were letting it all hang out ( pun intended).

FYI: Class of '83, meaning 30 years ago. Times were way different then.

Now, it's just texted all over twitter or FB or other social media.

People sure don't have to worry about Big Brother when they put every little personal detail out there.

John Harville

More common sense, yes.
But obviously he is the ONLY person of integrity in all this.
They had not kept the relationship a secret for five years. Why would they keep silent the future plans? There was no reason to believe she would react as she did.
Melody's reaction was not required of her, certainly was not hers alone to make (She's president, not Queen).
Like many, she made a misguided interpretation of Catholic doctrine, completely ignored the Church's position on counseling, compassion, care for the faithful - and especially care for the students from pre-school through graduation.
Now the students, school, Diocese and parishes will be left to pick up the pieces.

But maybe you're right... he should have lived a lie.

Julie R.

Sin all week ..... confess to the priest on Sunday ..... and then go back to sinning on Monday. Isn't that a hypocrite?

I also never could understand why Catholics feel the need to confess to a priest. A priest isn't God, so what's the point?


This is not intended to be sarcastic, but maybe you, along with a lot of other people who comment about the Catholic religion need to take a study course in this faith. A lot of what some people THINK, is not the case at all. A lot is the "I heard" type of information.I would never presume to comment on another religion that I knew nothing about.

John Harville

I TEACH the Catholic religion.
People raise legitimate questions - questions Catholics raise because they don't know why the do some of the things they do - and the Priest no longer is fearsome and to be obeyed without question.

"I heard" the Church is in a crisis because of people like Melody Curtis and you. When did YOU last "take a study course"? Confirmation? High school? Mass.

I was amazed on the SCCS website to learn that students only attend Mass at 'special' times. "back when grandma was a girl" MASS was the first stop EVERY morning. Students practiced their religion. Even when my kids were in school Mass was twice a week - grade-level mass M-T and all=school once on Friday.

When I teach, focus is on FAITH... because you cannot practice 'religion' until you know within yourself the 'why' that we call faith.

So get the log out of your own eye.

John Harville

According to the Church's Sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest is Christ on Earth. In Matt 16:19 and 18:18 Jesus told Peter and the Disciples "I will give you the keys to the Kingdom... whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven."
In its great wisdom as the FIRST and ORDAINED Church, THE CHURCH placed within priests the power to forgive or not forgive sins. The Church took it farther by sometimes demanding payments called indulgences.
Then 'confession' was changed to 'reconciliation' to indicate the real purpose was to reconcile to God. But Confession used to last all Saturday afternoon. Now it's seldom more than a half hour and no one waits.
All of my Catholic friends and relatives - the ones still here as well as the runaways - believe we can go directly to the source - Jesus - and don't need a go-between - and that no sinful mortal can tell us we are forgiven.


"Sin all week ..... confess to the priest on Sunday ..... and then go back to sinning on Monday. Isn't that a hypocrite?"

So that is the reason for that "closet" in the church. (I am only joking). I wonder how many corrupt Catholic OHIO judges, prosecutors, witnesses and others responsible for sending innocent people to prison go to confession and think that all is well and swell while the innocent people in prison continue their sentences? Saying 10 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Marys doesn't mean that all is well and swell with God.

Brick Hamland

I would strongly suggest Mr. Westerhold take some classes or write down his questions because the way he conducts interviews is poor at best. Stumbling over questions... University of Virginia? Absolutely no flow to the interview and at one point asking for help with questions. Around the 10 minute mark it gets brutal...
Nonetheless, I am sad to see Mr. Paneta leave the school as it is my understanding that he was real good at what he does. I hope he has a great career. My opinion is that it wasn't the school that made this move but the folks in the diocese.

Kottage Kat

I always heard, sow your wild oats on Friday and confess on Saturday. Forgiven by Sunday.
The priest issue bothers me, as hypocrisy to the Max. Everyone avoids that like the plaugue (sp) it is.God is God and I am not.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Libel and defamation.


pisan, it is not a sin for a catholic to be divorced without an annulment. It is a sin to get remarried if you are divorced and not getting an annulment from the previous marriage.


To add to what you've written, a Catholic Priest will not perform a wedding if at least one of the participants is divorced w/o an annulment.

John Harville

...but said non-annulled remarried person can/does teach in SCCS? And the status IS known by members of the Board and fellow teachers.

59 you're misled. If the persons divorced w/o an annulment, the Priest will marry them.
And if said couple becomes Catholic after marriage, the Church recognizes the marriage - as it does ALL marriages of persons who join after marriage.

Even when the priest knows one or both have been sterilized, the Church still will recognize the marriage - without special dispensation.

non-annulled divorced Catholics are denied the Sacraments... but who is to know if they choose to go to a different church and continue taking the sacraments?

If same couple above becomes Catholic and brings along their children who were conceived through surrogacy, in-vitro or adoption, the children will be baptized.

It seems, Buckeye, you also may need to take some 'instruction'.


Just asking. This whole situation has been caused not because the fact he is gay but because he is getting married to another gay? So if he wasn't getting married he could still teach?

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

Mikesee, as I understand it, and has Brian has explained it, a majority of the Sandusky Central Catholic School community knew he was gay and in a relationship with his now-fiancé. Yes, it didn't become an issue until he got engaged to be married, because that was considered a "public statement," which couldn't be disputed.

In this interview, Brian describes it as a "don't ask, don't tell" type policy upheld by the school.



Julie R.

Years and years ago my stepfather was kicked out of the Huron Catholic church but it wasn't because he was divorced and remarried. It was because he married my mother, who was divorced. I also know he never set foot in that church again and it didn't seem to bother him at all.


The diocese responded to the online petition by posting a clause of the so-called contract. "I understand that any violation of any section of this contract may result in termination of this contract and employment immediately.’ Now keep in mind that the legal wording is "may" and not "shall" or "will", which means that the school had discretion, which means that for the sake of the kids and continuity of the music program Mr. Panetta could have been kept employed at least until the end of the year. The "may" probably accounts for why certain violations of the contract are enforced while others are ignored. I know Mr. Panetta graciously had said that he is not going to sue, but I'm not sure if he knows that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati lost a lawsuit in federal court when it terminated an employee for violation of her employment contract. She was awarded monetary damages. State law is one thing, federal quite the other!

John Harville

The Diocese, by responding, just mooted its original statement that the issue was 'local' - which I've been saying all along was incorrect. All contracts are with the Diocese.
Mr. Panetta is not going to sue.
However, every member of the Diocese can plead standing to hold the Diocese accountable for the actions of its employees - witness the whole priest scandal which had plaintiffs other than direct 'victims'.
Since the Diocese now has inserted itself into the 'case', Mrs. Curtis and the local board may have control wrested from their hands.
And you are correct, the case would be filed in Federal District Court in Toledo.
You might want to check whether Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick of Toledo still is the Diocesan attorney.
Also Christopher Knight who is on the Board is an attorney.


The catholic church has the right to hire people who share their values. They were right to fire him

John Harville

Of course the Catholic Church has the right...
It also has the responsibility to act within Diocesan and federal law in is treatment of those people.

And we as parishioners - and citizens - have the right to challenge the Church and its representatives for their actions.

And especially those of us who pay tuition have rights to challenge them - and of course to remove our children from a school system who does not uphold the values of faith, hope and most of all love.

And then there are those of us who, as a group, account for about $100,000 in contributions...

And those of us who pay state taxes of which a cool half million is built into the SCCS budget.

Rusty of Sandusky

Anyone catch Matt's first series of questions? Upon learning that Brian Panetta grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina; Matt asks "That's where... the University of Virginia is?" Classic!

Matt Westerhold

The University of Virginia is in Charlottesville, Va., and the mention of Charlotte gave me a momentary slip. It happens, Rusty. 


Mr. Westerhold, this was difficult to watch. You were very unprepared and looked a bit foolish.
To Brian Panetta, you are handling this entire situation with a great deal of class. I wish the general public could do the same.
To the general public, please stop criticizing the school and the Catholic faith. The teachings in the bible were given to all of us, regardless of whatever denomination we may follow.

Matt Westerhold

I haven't watched the video. Perhaps it was an off day. 


Perhaps.... I just watched the 'video'. It was stilted, had you appeared to be prepared the ums, ers, etc...wouldn't have been present.


First of all THANK YOU to Matt Westerhold and Alissa for covering this story and allowing Brian to tell his side. I came to you one time Matt and criticized you once, severely you asked me to let you know when the paper got it right. You got it right. Brian Panetta I will miss you, what a mature class act you are, no one will fill your shoes or your place and in our hearts. I will never be able to walk into SCCS without a nasty feeling in my gut. SHAME, SHAME to you all.


Sugar, then I suggest you take you kids out! Do not let the door hit you on the way out!


... and they'll know we are christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are christians by our love.

John Harville

Would that be your suggestion to all parents who are disgruntled?

I really think Melody should get on here quickly and disavow any such comment from you.

That attitude you just presented once was the mantra of the entire church... until millions of Catholics took them up on it. Have you not noticed fewer weekend masses; smaller attendance; less offerings?

Are you not aware of the Toledo Diocese's expensive "Catholics, Come Home" campaign? Have you not noticed the diminishing numbers of priests and religious? Are you not aware of 'circuit' priests who celebrate mass at two or three churches on weekends in parishes which now have parish administrators?

But thank you for the permission to cancel my pledges to the Church.


I suggest you worry about your own kids.


And who said I have kids there? I've seen a lot of assumptions here because my comments, not a one of you know anything about me yet you all have a critique. SMH


Umm Sugar you did you said you pay and you want Mr. Panetta there. Lol


Ummmm there are ways to be paying tuition and not have your own child/ren attending SCCS, aside from the fact that a large portion of collection monies from each Catholic Parish goes in support of the school. Your assumptions and remarks will not change any opinions on how the school handled the situation, I feel it was hypocritical and bigoted. In every instance here I have been attacked for expressing my opine and when I respond I am called "mean". Pffftt. This is my last post on the subject. The entire nation is aware, WaPo, Wa Times,Houston, Denver, Seattle etc covered the news, many TV stations also. It's even posted on Chelsea Clinton's FB page.

John Harville

She didn't say she pays tuition.
I pay. Whenever I'm in Mass (which will be even less) I drop money in the plate. I don't use an envelope and I don't ask for a statement so I can take a tax deduction because I believe my tithing is between God and me.

However, when I leave here I will be contacting the head of the Foundation to inform him to begin expecting a drop in one of his major contributions.

And I will be sure he and Melody know of your 'permission'.

John Harville

And still you stand by your statement that we who have concerns or disagreements should just leave the church?

Melody's gonna love this.

Donald Szpozors's picture
Donald Szpozors

I will continue to shake my head at those ignorant, pretentious community members. As previously stated, the communities of Sandusky and Fremont both have an overwhelming number of LGBT community members for such a "small town" area. Many, many, 'many' of these men are married, engaged or identify as 'straight' but continue to spew homophobic ignorance and hate. Things will not improve unless we openly discuss LGBT issues just as much as 'hetero' issues. Engage our children. Engage our community. And most importantly- educate and educate correctly. Eradicate the stereotypes and shame that the church associates with the LGBT lifestyle. Start the conversation today! Pry open those closet doors of Sandusky and Fremont! Pry open those closet doors at your churches! It is NOT a sin! Love is love. I wish nothing but endless success and kudos to this eloquent, talented young man and his partner with many blessed years ahead of them.


I feel a bit of Harvey Milk emanating from those last few lines...

Well played :)

John Harville

The people in those areas of which you speak would be amazed to know of the number of homosexual men - and women - in fully blest heterosexual-appearing and LOVING Catholic marriages, rearing delightful children they bore together (yes, folks, homosexuals can complete the heterosexual act, I'm told). They are in loving families. There also are surrogate and in-vitro children growing up in healthy Catholic homes, partaking of Eucharist, being confirmed in the faith.
As a catechist having completed lay ministry, I exhort all of us who realize what already is reality in our midst, to attempt to be understanding of these hardcore Catholics who once again are being shaken.
I too wish this couple joy and happiness... and children.

thinkagain's picture

“It is NOT a sin!” - Nice try Satan!

So, it’s not enough that you are an unrepentant sinner, you encourage others to be trapped in their sinfulness also?

"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error," (Rom. 1:26-27).

"...and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them," (Rom. 1:32).


What many Biblical scholars have determined is that Romans is taken from Paul's philosophy on unbridled passion. The focus of Paul's issue was pagan idolatry and temple sex rituals among heterosexuals. Sexual orientation, the idea of being attracted exclusively to a certain gender, was not discovered until 1900 A.D., so while same-sex behavior existed (almost exclusively pederasty or prostitution) it had nothing to do with homosexuals.

John Harville

And yet the Greek city-states encouraged its military fighters to form loving sexual relationships within the ranks. It was the policy/belief that men who love each will fight harder to protect each other... ie the 300.


thinkagain: Do you desire that this country was a Christian theocracy?


No thinkagain just wants a white, straight, male in charge most bigots. His handle should be"neverthinks".

dorothy gale

Trying to justify one's fear and ignorance by quoting from a book that indicates that the world is flat, that dinosaurs and children frolicked happily together, that snakes and donkeys can speak, that a pair every species of animal on Earth was crammed into a boat (polar bears from the arctic, penguins from Antarctica, wallabies fron Australia?), and contradicts itself over and over is so sad. How awful it must be to live in constant darkness.

thinkagain's picture

You spend each day of your life in darkness, so I trust you when you say it must be awful.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

The question is not if a snake or donkey can talk, but if a supernatural God exists. If the latter is true, the former is a walk in the park.

As C. S. Lewis observed, “But if we admit God, must we admit Miracle? Indeed, indeed, you have no security against it. That is the bargain.”

The Big Dog's back

neverthinks, you should listen to the Pope, you might learn something.

thinkagain's picture

The Big Dog's back
Sun, 04/14/2013 - 5:21pm
Try watching Ancient Aliens, you might learn something.

OK, so which is it, your Pope or your alien overlords?

The Big Dog's back

Both. I know that's hard for a right winger to take in. But try.

John Harville

Again... you should apply to put modern history into traditional Biblical allegorical and fairy tale form.
I'll bet you thought it was just fine that GWB dropped bombs in the Garden of Eden... you DO know that the Garden is in the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates?
Even Jesus said to put sin as far from ourselves as East is from West. But East meets West within each of us because the world is round. According to John 1 Jesus was present even before the Creation (because the Word IS God!). But, if he even said it, he knew he had to speak in the vernacular - the language his listeners would understand.

Tell us why there are TWO creation stories? In the Hebrew tradition, one story has man and woman created with the other animals from the Earth. But Lillith (really the first woman) thought since she was equally created she had a right to equal treatment - and to be on top sometimes! Adam begged God for a woman to be subject to him. So God put him to sleep and took his rib and CLONED Eve but, being God, made her feMALE.
The New Testament first book was put to papyrus by Mark about 60 years after Jesus died. Mark's was FIRST. Then Matthew used Mark but put his own spin on it to prove miraculous Jesus and to prove his royal descent from Abraham and David. John sat in his island prison well advanced in years and did all he could to secure the 'divinity' of Christ. LUKE never met Jesus but begins his Gospel by saying he has heard the stories and it's time to write another document. The historic ranking of the Gospels, then, in Mark, Matthew, John and Luke (who used all the others as his Wikipedia).
Come out of your self-imposed darkness and LEARN about the book of which you try to be an authority.

John Harville

Thinkagain... There you go again, quoting Paul out of context...the Roman Jew who persecuted Christians, deserted his wife and family, taught that Jesus would return during his generation (how's that workin') got drunk and fell off a horse and said Jesus spoke to him.
Then he went to Jerusalem and told Peter (who had he keys to the Church) and James that Jesus was just kidding and that 'the Way' was to be extended to the Gentiles and everybody who lived on earth.
He also told the Corinthian women to be silent in church and not instruct men on religious matters.
Paul was a prime example of 'writing to your audience'. In his letter to the Romans he was facing a situation where he was having difficulty recruiting to 'the Way' and didn't have enough little followers being born because the Romans had their own religions.
The King James translation - commissioned by one of the gayest and most murderous kings England ever knew - was translated by the Puritans - and we know what 'happy people' they were. All of this after the Church in the 16th Century 'kept the home fires burning' with the bodies of Protestants and others who dared to read the Bible for themselves.
But you go right on with your blasphemy and heresy and tryin' to be all scary and threatening.

"this is my commandment. I command you to love one another as I have loved you." Jesus.


thinkagain: I'm glad your understanding of human sexuality is advanced as what was written 2000 years ago. I am glad society's views of slavery aren't as primitive as was believed then.

Do you have any other biblical scientific views (astronomy, geology) to enlighten the world?


Matt Westerhold did appear unprepared-not to mention, unprofessional. What's offensive are the gay jokes coming from Westerhold. I am sad to see Brian leave and really do like him, I also understand the school's rationale. It is clear that Brian will be missed by many and he has handled this situation with the utmost dignity.

I understand the Catholic faith. I also have more than one homosexual family member. The gay/Catholic jokes coming from Westerhold during this interview- are offensive to me as a Catholic as well as someone who loves her homosexual relatives whole-heartedly. Mr. Westerhold, you have done yourself, your employer, and your community an incredible disgrace with your passive, crude "jokes".

Matt Westerhold

I regret you were offended but you seem to be overstating my ineptitude and the level of shame I should carry. 

John Harville

Do you proclaim your love for your heterosexual relatives as 'whole-heartedly'?
You DO know that PUBLICLY proclaiming your love for and acceptance of your homosexual family members for the persons they are, puts YOU directly in opposition the Catholic religion you also proclaim?
You DO realize that if you were an employee of SCCS and they found out your identity in making this post that YOU - like Brian - "may be" kicked out?


In addition to the Sandusky Register interview, the Hire Brian Back blog has the full, unedited interview WKYC did with Brian, about 20 minutes worth of footage--very sad, rich in details. Must see!


Bad audio, horrible job interviewing & bad set & lighting. What's that annoying glare on the table? The guest did better than the interviewer! Two paws down!

Ned Mandingo

"catholic values" what a joke.
Stupid brainwashed people who judge other people based on fairy tails.


Wow John Harville in my years as a Catholic I have never been taught what you have posted, I would love to sit sown wtth you and really learn!


Over 100 comments. How many comments will there be once the Sandusky Register requires real names?

John Harville

Probably a lot fewer since people then would know where to go and take action against persons with whom they disagree.

Of course, having already faced that, it wouldn't deter me if I feel the issue is important enough. In fact it doesn't deter me. I'm preparing a letter to the editor and I've called and emailed various persons at the Diocesan offices in my own name. They tend not to write threatening letters that bring in the FBI.

Coram Deo

Another view:

God in His grace has a plan.

John Harville

God in his grace gives us free will to move through life with love and compassion; to accept each other as we are; always to react with love - and when necessary to kick some butt and overturn tables of moneychangers cheating people of their faith.

John Harville

GAYS CAUSE AUTISM. This representative says so.

and now you know why I'm still here. Actions like SCCS give people license for things like this.

John Harville

SANDUSKY MOM. I stand corrected, the Diocesan Superintendent of Education Christopher M. Knight is not the one about whom I conjectured.
Are you then verifying for us that THIS Christopher M. Knight is the same one listed on the SCCS Board of Directors?
Are you then verifying for us that THIS Christopher M. Knight is "the person form the Diocese" who came to tell Mr. Panetta of his termnation?

John Harville

Melody Curtis was hired by the SCCS Board of Directors in February 2013 with her contract to begin July 1, 2013.

In February 2013 Melody Curtis was in her first year as Executive Director of Monroe Catholic Elementary School. MCES was a new consolidation of three elementary schools. Melody Curtis takes great pride in her vitae noting that she 'inspired' the consolidation and was its Executive Director after having been a principal at one of the three elementary schools.
February 2013 Melody Curtis completes the interview process and is offered a contract by SCCS.
Even her greatest defenders have to realize she didn't wait until February to apply. It would seem obvious her application would have been in process to leave her 'inspiration school' and go somewhere else.
I hope she has greater loyalty to SCCS and - this being February - not in the process of moving to another assignment.

FURTHER CLARIFICATION: August 2013... a Register story detailed construction of the 'new' SCCS building. SCCS said as a private school they didn't have to give any figures on costs of the renovations on employee salaries. Grandmasgirl asked a simple question about schools such as SCCS being 'private' if they get state funding. She was - sometimes viciously - attacked.
Let me clarify: According to the SCCS website and Foundation, SCCS puts in its BUDGET more than a half million dollars in STATE FUNDS. They also would have needed a zoning permit and building permit which makes this building project PUBLIC.