The Diocese of Richmond announced Monday, June 8 that it has begun a review into allegations of child sexual abuse involving four retired or inactive priests.

None of the accused priests are currently serving in active ministry, nor have they recently served in ministry for the diocese. The diocese has not reached any conclusions regarding these allegations, rather this statement serves to announce the beginning of its inquiry into the allegations. Until this inquiry concludes, the accused are not deemed to have committed the acts alleged.

Bishop Barry C. Knestout acknowledged the “great courage” to come forward to report the 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,” the bishop said. “We continue to pray for their healing and for their loved ones who support them.”

Bishop Knestout has prohibited all of the named diocesan clergy from any public ministry in the diocese while the allegations are being reviewed. As part of the Church process into the allegations, the Diocesan Review Board will make recommendations to the bishop. 

Based upon its findings, the Diocesan Review Board’s recommendations will assist Bishop Knestout with an appropriate response to the allegations. Then, Bishop Knestout will make a final determination. The diocese has also notified the civil authorities.

Father William Dinga Jr. 

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Father William Dinga Jr. while serving at Christ the King Catholic Church, Norfolk, in 1986. Father Dinga adamantly denies the allegations. 

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Richmond in 1975 and served as a pastor or associate pastor at the following parishes: Christ the King, Norfolk; St. Andrew, Roanoke; Holy Cross, Lynchburg; St. Jerome, Newport News; St. Vincent de Paul, Newport News, and St. Peter, Richmond.

Father Dinga retired in 1990. Prior to this recent allegation, Father Dinga did not have permission to exercise any public priestly ministry. His priestly faculties remain suspended.

Father Joseph Slowik 

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Father Joseph Slowik while serving at St. Paul Catholic Church in Portsmouth during the early 1990s. The diocese has been unable to ascertain Father Slowik’s response to the allegations. The Church process will proceed based on the assumption that Father Slowik denies the allegations.

Incardinated as a priest of the Diocese of Richmond in 1979, he served as a pastor and/or associate pastor at the following parishes: St. John, Petersburg; St. Paul, Portsmouth, and Church of St. Therese, Gloucester. He was removed from public ministry in 2006. Father Slowik is retired, and his priestly faculties remain suspended.

Father Thomas L. Long Jr. 

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Father Thomas L. Long Jr. while serving at Christ the King Catholic School, Norfolk, in 1986. The diocese has been unable to ascertain Father Long’s response to the allegations. The Church process will proceed based on the assumption that Father Long denies the allegations.

Father Long, ordained a priest of the diocese in 1981, was assigned to St. Joseph, Petersburg, and Christ the King. 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, Father Long’s priestly faculties were already suspended. His faculties remain suspended.

Redemptorist Father Eugene Daigle 

Allegations of child sexual abuse have been made against Redemptorist Father Eugene Daigle, a religious order priest, while serving at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Fort Monroe, in the late 1970s.

Father 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 Diocese of Richmond has informed the provincial superior of the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province, to whom Father Daigle reports, of the allegations. Father Daigle is no longer active in priestly ministry.

The diocese has been unable to ascertain Father Daigle’s response to the allegations. The Church process will proceed based on the assumption that Father Daigle denies the allegations.

The 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 800-552-7096, and by calling the Virginia Clergy Abuse Hotline at 833-454-9064 or (VirginiaClergyHotline.com). Individuals are also encouraged to contact the  24-hour  confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 877-887-9603 or email vac@richmonddiocese.org.

The Diocesan Child Protection Policy can be viewed online at: https://richmonddiocese.org/di ocesan-policies/.