Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Norfolk priest on “leave” over youth interaction complaints

NORFOLK — A Catholic priest here is on “leave” as the diocese in Richmond look at complaints “concerning his interactions with young people.”

Bishop of Richmond Barry C. Knestout stressed in a Dec. 8 letter to parishioners that Rev. Joseph Metzger of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church has not been accused of child sexual abuse.

He said the complaints made to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s Safe Environment Office concerned interactions “not in keeping with the Code of Conduct with Minors.” The diocese has a 13-point code of conduct designed to “provide a safe environment” for minors and vulnerable adults.

Diocese spokeswoman Deborah Cox told The Associated Press that Metzger’s conduct will be reviewed by two separate panels. One is the priest personnel board. The other is the Diocesan Review Board, which consists mostly of lay people not employed by the church.

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