For Immediate Release: September 17, 2018
Diocese of Richmond Notifies Civil Authorities of Decades Old Sexual Abuse Allegation Involving Former Priest
The Diocese of Richmond was made aware of an allegation of sexual abuse through the attorney of the victim. According to the adult male’s account, when he was a minor in the 1970s, then Rev. John P. Blankenship sexually abused him. At that time, Blankenship was pastor at St. John’s Catholic Church in Highland Springs.
The Diocese notified the Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney of the allegation and will cooperate fully with the civil authorities should an investigation proceed.
Blankenship was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Richmond in 1963. He was removed from active priestly ministry in 2002 and dismissed from the priesthood in 2007. Blankenship was previously prosecuted on other charges which is public record. He does not receive any financial assistance from the diocese.
Prior to his dismissal from the priesthood, Blankenship served as a transitional deacon of Our Lady of Nazareth, Roanoke; associate pastor of Sacred Heart in Winchester; associate pastor of St. Agnes in Arlington; associate pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Fort Monroe; associate pastor of St. Mary in Richmond; pastor of St. John in Highland Springs; pastor of Sacred Heart in Prince George Co; and as the chaplain for the Federal Corrections Facility in Petersburg before he was removed from ministry.
The Diocese of Richmond is committed to ensuring that a safe environment for children, young people and vulnerable individuals is provided within all diocesan institutions and ministries.
If clergy or church personnel are suspected of committing abuse, please call the civil authorities in your area first and then call the confidential Diocese of Richmond Victim’s Assistance Reporting Line at 1-877-887-9603.