Norfolk priest takes leave of absence due to complaints

NORFOLK, Va. - The pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church has taken a leave of absence amid non-sexual complaints against him, Richmond Diocese Bishop Barry Knestout wrote in a letter to members of the parish over the weekend.

Fr. Joseph Metzger

The complaints have to do with Fr. Joseph Metzger's interactions with young people and are not "in keeping with the Code of Conduct with Minors set forth in the Diocesan Safe Environment Regulations," the Bishop wrote.  The Bishop added that "no allegations of child sexual abuse have been made."

Fr. Dan Beeman, the pastor of Holy Trinity, will temporarily oversee the church during Metzger's leave of absence.

During the leave of absence, the Diocesan Review Board and the priest personnel board will determine Metzger's suitability to returning and in what capacity, according to Bishop Knestout.

Metzger has been a priest for more than 25 years, according the The Catholic Virginian. "Father Joe is a great guy. He's been around in the community for years," said a parishioner who didn't want to be identified. "He's done so much for the church and the community."

News 3 reached out to Norfolk Police to see if anything had been reported to them, but they say there are no incident reports on file.

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