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Catholic Diocese of Richmond Begins Review into Allegations Against Four Retired or Inactive Priests

For immediate release June 8, 2020

Catholic Diocese of Richmond Begins Review into Allegations Against Four Retired or Inactive Priests

(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced today (June 8), it has begun a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

None of the accused priests are currently serving in active ministry, nor have they recently served in ministry for the diocese. The diocese has not reached any conclusions regarding these allegations, rather this statement serves to announce the beginning of its inquiry into the allegations. Until this inquiry concludes, the accused are not deemed to have committed the acts alleged.

At the same time, Bishop Knestout acknowledges it takes great courage to come forward to report allegations of this nature. “While the alleged incidents are from the past, we recognize the pain is still a deep and present reality for victim survivors of abuse and for their loved ones,” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout. “We continue to pray for their healing and for their loved ones who support them.”

Bishop Knestout has prohibited all of the named diocesan clergy from any public ministry in the diocese while the allegations are being reviewed. As part of the Church process into the allegations, the Diocesan Review Board will make recommendations to Bishop Knestout. Based upon its findings, the Diocesan Review Board’s recommendations will assist Bishop Knestout with an appropriate response to the allegations. Then, Bishop Knestout will make a final determination. The Diocese has also notified the civil authorities.

 

Fr. William Dinga, Jr. | Status: Retired Without Priestly Faculties

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Fr. William Dinga, Jr. while serving at Christ the King Catholic Church, Norfolk in 1986. Fr. Dinga adamantly denies the allegations. He was ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in 1975 and served as a pastor or associate pastor at the following parishes: Christ the King, Norfolk; Saint Andrew, Roanoke; Holy Cross, Lynchburg; Saint Jerome, Newport News; Saint Vincent de Paul, Newport News; and Saint Peter, Richmond.

Fr. Dinga retired in 1990. Prior to this recent allegation, Fr. Dinga did not have permission to exercise any public priestly ministry. His priestly faculties remain suspended.

 

Fr. Joseph Slowik | Status: Retired without Priestly Faculties

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Fr. Joseph Slowik while serving at St. Paul’s in Portsmouth in the early 1990’s.  The diocese has been unable to ascertain Fr. Slowik’s response to the allegations. The Church process will proceed based on the assumption that Fr. Slowik denies the allegations.

Incardinated as a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in 1979, he served as a pastor and/or associate pastor at the following parishes: St. John, Petersburg, St. Paul, Portsmouth and Church of Saint Therese, Gloucester. He was removed from public ministry in 2006. Fr. Slowik’s priestly faculties remain suspended.

 

Fr. Thomas L. Long, Jr. | Suspended from Priestly Ministry

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Fr. Thomas L. Long, Jr. while serving at Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk in 1986.  The diocese has been unable to ascertain Fr. Long’s response to the allegations. The Church process will proceed based on the assumption that Fr. Long denies the allegations.

Fr. Long, ordained a priest of the diocese in 1981, was assigned to St. Joseph in Petersburg and Christ the King in Norfolk. He took a leave of absence in 1988 and has not served in priestly ministry within the Diocese of Richmond since that time.

Prior to these allegations, Fr. Long’s priestly faculties were already suspended. His faculties remain suspended.

 

Fr. Eugene Daigle | Religious Order Priest

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Fr. Eugene Daigle, a religious order priest, while serving at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea in Fort Monroe in the late 1970’s.

Fr. Daigle was ordained a Redemptorist, or member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.Ss.R), a religious community of Roman Catholic priests and brothers, before working in ministry in the diocese. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has informed the provincial superior of the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province, to whom Fr. Daigle reports to, of the allegations.  Currently, Fr. Daigle is no longer active in priestly ministry.*

The diocese has been unable to ascertain Fr. Daigle’s response to the allegations. The Church process will proceed based on the assumption that Fr. Daigle denies the allegation.

As always, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond encourages individuals who have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the diocese to report abuse directly to law enforcement first, including Child Protective Services (CPS) at 1-800-552-7096, and by calling the Virginia Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064 or (VirginiaClergyHotline.com). Individuals are also encouraged to contact the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603 or email vac@richmonddiocese.org.

The Diocesan Child Protection Policy can be viewed online at: https://richmonddiocese.org/diocesan-policies/

 

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*Media Note: Any further information regarding Fr. Eugene Daigle’s date of ordination and previous assignments will have to be obtained from the Redemptorists. The Redemptorists can be reached by contacting Provincial@redemptorists.net.