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Diocese of Richmond starts review of allegations against 4 inactive priests

Bishop Barry Knestout
Bishop Barry Knestout(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 3:06 PM EDT
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The Catholic Diocese of Richmond, which oversees most of Virginia's Catholic churches, has launched a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

According to a statement from the diocese, they have not reached any conclusions on the allegations at this point, but are beginning their official inquiry into the priests, none of whom are currently serving in active ministry or who have recently served in ministry.

Until the conclusion of the diocese's inquiry, they say the accused are not deemed to have committed the acts alleged.

However, Bishop Barry C. Knestout said it take great courage for people to come forward to report allegations.

“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 Knestout. “We continue to pray for their healing and for their loved ones who support them.”

All of the clergy named in the allegations are prohibited from any public ministry during the review.

Once the review is complete, the Diocesan Review Board will make recommendations to Bishop Knestout on how to respond to the allegations, and then the bishop makes a final determination.

The Diocese of Richmond has also notified law enforcement.

The four priests facing allegations are Fr. William Dinga, Jr.; Fr. Joseph Slowik; Fr. Thomas L. Long, Jr.; and Fr. Eugene Daigle.

Fr. William Dinga, Jr.

, retired without priestly faculties, is accused of child sexual abuse during his time serving at Christ the King Catholic Church in Norfolk in 1986.

Fr. Dinga adamantly denies the allegations.

According to the diocese, 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

, retired without priestly faculties, is accused of child sexual abuse during his time serving at St. Paul’s in Portsmouth in the early 1990’s.

The diocese says they have 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," their statement reads.

Incardinated as a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in 1979, Fr. Slowik 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, is accused of child sexual abuse during his time serving at Christ the King Catholic School in Norfolk in 1986.

The diocese says they have been unable to ascertain Fr. Long’s response to the allegations and will proceed based on the assumption that Fr. Long denies the allegations.

Ordained a priest of the diocese in 1981, Fr. Long, Jr. 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, the diocese says, and his faculties remain suspended.

Fr. Eugene Daigle

, a religious order priest, is accused of child sexual abuse during his time 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.

According to the diocese, Fr. Daigle is no longer active in priestly ministry. They do not know his response and, like the others, proceed based on the assumption that Fr. Daigle denies the allegation

The diocese is encouraging any people 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. Any victims 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

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