For Immediate Release: July 1, 2023
Catholic Diocese of Richmond Received
Allegation Against Retired Priest
(RICHMOND, Va.) – The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has received a recent report of alleged child sexual abuse against Fr. Walter Lewis. The allegation reports that the abuse took place in the 1980’s while Fr. Lewis was serving as pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church, Bristol. The allegation has been reported to law enforcement.
Fr. Lewis denies the allegation.
As a result, Bishop Knestout has immediately prohibited Fr. Lewis from any public ministry in the diocese while the investigation is underway. The diocese will not reach any conclusions regarding this allegation until the investigation concludes.
Fr. Lewis was ordained a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in 1979. During his tenure, he served as pastor or parochial vicar at the following parishes: Holy Spirit, Virginia Beach; St. Andrew, Roanoke; St. Anne, Bristol; St. Mary, Richmond; St. Bridget, Richmond; St. John Neumann, Powhatan; and Good Samaritan, Amelia. Fr. Lewis recently retired from active ministry. His retirement was publicly announced in May 2023.
Bishop Knestout acknowledges it takes great courage to come forward to report allegations of this nature and offers his prayers for the ongoing healing of victims.
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. Individuals are also encouraged to contact the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603 or email [email protected].