March 5th, 2011
07:09 PM ET

Ohio priest bound for rehab after drunken jail cell sermon goes viral

An Ohio priest is heading to rehab, his lawyer said, after his drunken, profanity-laced rant from inside a jail cell wound up on YouTube and went viral.

The Rev. Ignatius Kury has taken a leave of absence from Holy Ghost Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church in south Akron and plans to enter a clerical rehabilitation center in Maryland next week, his lawyer told CNN.

Yes, Kury has seen the video of himself, and it's clear he's drunk, attorney Walter Benson said.

"He’s an extremely intoxicated priest. I don’t think being a priest saves you from the affects of alcohol," he said. "He’s feeling horrible. He’s unbelievably remorseful for his actions. He's trying to be proactive to address the issues that he has."

Kury, 35, was arrested last Sunday on suspicion of operating a vehicle impaired after driving his car off the road and failing a field sobriety test, Sgt. Chris Adkins of the Brimfield Township Police Department said.

When he was brought back to the police station, Kury blew a .203 in a breathalyzer test, well beyond Ohio's legal limit of .08, according to a police report. While he was handcuffed to the wall in a temporary holding facility, he exposed himself, prompting an officer to videotape his actions.

That's when Kury launched into a irate, occasionally tearful jail cell sermon touching on a wide variety of topics, from Oprah Winfrey and Sarah Palin to Libya and patriotism, as he demanded to be released.

"Christ on the cross, you got these shackles on me," he said. "I'll give you the sermon on the mount, your sermon on the mount is this: get this f-–g bars off me 'cuz I'm getting a rash."

Enslavement becomes a recurring theme during the 23-minute recording in his apparent bid for freedom.

"And I refuse like Johnny Weir. I will say my people have been oppressed for too long! And we will not go along with your shackles. We will not be slaves to you. No, we will continue to rise against you, you Bolsheviks. We are true royalty. I am the viscount and I will not allow you to denounce me nor will I allow you to denounce my family."

At one point, Kury asks the officer - sarcastically, it seems - if performing oral sex on him will expedite his release, and then demurs.

"I am not going to get on my knees... I don't care how long I'm here."

This was Kury's first arrest by Brimfield Police and his fourth on an OVI charge, Adkins said.

"We have behavior from people who are intoxicated along those lines, but you don’t expect it from a priest," Adkins said.

Kury pleaded not guilty at a court appearance Friday and his pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May 10th, his attorney said.

"It doesn’t take away from all the great things that he’s done in our community or in other places," Benson said, such as helping build his parish, counseling people who have lost loved ones, doing community service (for which he has won awards), tutoring special needs students and traveling to Ukraine to help orphans.

"I don’t think he should be judged solely on this one terrible lapse of judgment. "

soundoff (371 Responses)
  1. Heavy Sigh

    One comment and one clarification:

    1) It's good that the police got this man off the road - clearly he was a danger behind the wheel. Beyond that, everyone - believer or agnostic or athiesit - at some point makes mistakes in life, so I'll leave it at that and hope that he gets some help.

    2) For those who keep wanting to draw a distinction between the Roman Catholic Church and the Byzantine Rite of the Catholic Church - the are, in fact, part of the same Roman Catholic Church led by the Vatican. The Byzantine Rite is a form of liturgy rooted in the Orthodox tradition but in full communion and union with Rome, accepting the Pope as tht head of the Christian faith on earth. The Byzantine Rite is under the authority of the Pope and a full part of the Roman Catholic Church. And, yes, it's hugely disappointing when members of the Catholic clergy and/or the hierarchy fail. To be fair, it's also hugely disappointing when people are quick to lash out with condemnation rather than compassion. I'll leave it at that.

    March 7, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wally Balloo

    I'm more bugged that the crawl said no more snacks on Continental Airlines...

    March 7, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wally Balloo

    This was Kury's first arrest by Brimfield Police and his fourth on an OVI charge, Adkins said.

    "I don’t think he should be judged solely on this one terrible lapse of judgment. "

    One does not equal four, last time I looked.

    March 7, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Maggie R

    It is unfortunate the cops take advange of a person who is impared and provoke them, and then expose them on
    you tube. These cops are lowest of the lowest. Shame on you, and shame on the justice department for condoning this!!

    March 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Treetop Flyer

      Maggie....The cops took advantage of the priest?? WOW! The cops make an arrest, the guy exposes himself and begins acting crazy. They turn on a video and record the happenings. This arrest is public RECORD!!!

      The cops did not release the video to the internet, the press did...and they SHOULD HAVE!

      March 7, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt


      How DARE they arrest him for laws that mere citizens have to follow.

      Being a Priest they may do exactly as they want, when they want, to whom they want. If they want to drive drunk it's the job of the authorities to look the other way.

      Seriously though Maggie R, do you really feel this way? Is arresting this person 'provoking' them? He was read his rights, he had been informed that he had the right to remain silent.

      If this is his fourth arrest then something clearly needs to be done, why has it gotten to four times?

      I can't fathom why you're angry at the police for arresting him, you're aiming your anger in the wrong direction and need to reevaluate your riposte

      August 10, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Patrick

    I beg the bishop of his eparchy to NEVER reinstate this sick man. These modernist priests are the biggest enemies of the church.

    September 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
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