Catholic Church releases list of local clergy with ‘substantiated’ sexual assault allegations

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RICHMOND, Va. - A list released by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has named clergy members with substantiated sexual assault allegations against them who have - or had - connections to the Hampton Roads area.

Bishop Barry C. Knestout portrait (Photo: Catholic Diocese of Richmond)

"By publishing this list, we can help bring about healing to those who have experienced abuse in the Church and heighten the awareness of this tragic situation," said Bishop of Richmond Barry C. Knestout. "To the victims and to all affected by the pain of abuse, our response will always be about what we are doing, not simply what we have done. We will seek not just to be healed but will always be seeking healing.  We will seek not just to be reconciled but will always be seeking reconciliation."

Listed are names of priests and their status in the Church. Some have passed away and others are listed as removed, laicized, convicted or suspended if their status is known.

News 3 is working to confirm which priests have local connections.

The following priests have served part of their career locally. We are working to get more details:

  • Dwight Edward Shrader - Virginia Beach, laicized
  • Eugene John Teslovic - Virginia Beach, removed
  • Joseph Thang Xuan Pham - Williamsburg, suspended
  • Julian B. Goodman - Norfolk, removed
  • Frederick James Beardsley - James City County, deceased

Click here to see the full list.

Covering some 36,000 square miles, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond goes from coastal Virginia to West Virginia and Kentucky and down to Tennessee and North Carolina, and extends to Northern Virginia, according to its website.

As of 2019, the Diocese covers more than 220,000 active Catholic churches in its 149 parishes; 202 work within the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says that it urges 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, including Child Protective Services (CPS) at 1-800-552-7096, and by calling the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064.

Reports of sexual abuse can also be made to the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603 or by email. 

Below is the full statement from the Catholic Diocese of Richmond

"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, consistent with my promises of transparency and accountability, I am publishing a list of clergy that have a credible and substantiated claim of sexual abuse against a minor.

I express my deep gratitude to the victims and survivors that have come forward and for your patience as we prepared this list.  As your bishop, I am called to be a good shepherd, attentive to the care and needs of all our people, especially the most vulnerable.  Therefore, I asked for an independent and comprehensive review of clergy personnel files, and the files from the Diocesan Safe Environment Office and the Diocesan Review Board.

By publishing this list, we can help bring about healing to those who have experienced abuse in the Church and heighten the awareness of this tragic situation.

To those who experienced abuse from clergy, I am truly, deeply sorry. I regret that you have to bear the burden of the damage you suffered at the hands of those you trusted.  I am also sorry that you must carry the memory of that experience with you.  Moreover, I apologize to family members and friends of the abused, and to all members of the Catholic Church.

This crisis calls us to be immersed in three aspects of reconciliation. We need to bring to light the damage that has been done by child sexual abuse in the Church in order for healing to take place. We must express our sorrow and contrition publicly and clearly to acknowledge what we have done and what we have failed to do.  We must continue to demonstrate our commitment to never let this happen again. In doing so, we make known — and support with actions — our commitment to repair the damage that has been done.

To the victims and to all affected by the pain of abuse, our response will always be about what we are doing, not simply what we have done. We will seek not just to be healed but will always be seeking healing.  We will seek not just to be reconciled but will always be seeking reconciliation.

Together, let our prayers guide us with God’s grace.  I ask you to pray for the healing of the victims and their families.  I ask you to pray for the Church. Be assured I will do all in my power to restore your trust and to make our Church an authentic witness to the Gospel now and throughout our journey to eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Bishop of Richmond"

The mission statement of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond is as follows:

"We, the Christian faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, led by our Bishop and in union with the universal Church, are listeners, learners, teachers and Disciples of Christ. We embrace our diversity and its expression in faith. We share a vision of a diocese where love grows, life triumphs and justice and peace prevail. We participate in God’s work to renew our Church and the world, through Word, Worship, Community and Service."

Related: Norfolk priest takes leave of absence due to complaints

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