Friday, January 27, 2023

Priests in Virginia Beach and Norfolk named on Diocese list detailing ‘credible’ sexual abuse

(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

On Wednesday, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond made waves when it published a list of 42 names of clergy with “credible and substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse involving minors.

Some of the names were priests who were assigned in Catholic churches in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

Here’s the local list confirmed by Southside Daily:

  • Eugene Teslovic: St Luke’s Catholic Church in Virginia Beach from 1990-2002 — Official PDF of the history of Saint Luke Parish details that Teslovic was appointed pastor in June 1991.
  • Paul David Ryan: Star of the Sea in Virgina Beach, 1979. He was sentenced to jail in Austraila in 2006 for abuse, according to court papers in Australia.
  • Julian Goodman: Blessed Sacrament in Norfolk. He was pastor for 11 years from 1987-1999 at Blessed Sacrament, according to the church’s website.
  • Dwight Shrader: St. John the Apostle in Virginia Beach from 1989 to 2003. In June 2003 Bishop Walter F. Sullivan (now deceased) of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond released a statement on Shrader. The bishop said it to parishioners of Saint John Parish. The statement involved the sexual abuse allegations. (Deceased)
  • Caroll Dozier: Christ the King in Norfolk in the 1960s and 1970s. — ODU’s digital collection has a photo of Dozier in a technical institute commencement picture from 1963, labeling him as pastor of Christ the King Catholic Chruch. (Deceased)
  • Gordian Burkhardt: James Barry Robinson School in Norfolk and St. Gregory the Great in Virginia Beach in the 1960s and 1970s — Burkhardt died in 1985; an obituary from a scanned microfilm states that he worked at the James Barry-Robinson Center and St. Gregory the Great.
  • Martin Brady: James Barry Robinson School in Norfolk from 1968-1972. He died in 2003. Several articles identified him as a headmaster and superior at James Barry-Robinson High School at that time

The disclosure of the 42 names comes five months after Bishop Barry Knestout pledged to conduct an independent investigation to review church personnel files.

“To those who experienced abuse from clergy, I am truly, deeply sorry,” Knestout wrote in a letter published with the list on the diocese’s website. “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.”

Knestout said publishing the list “can help bring about healing” and “heighten the awareness of this tragic situation.”

Thirteen of the 42 priests on the Richmond list are now deceased, and the rest have been removed from ministry. Six have been criminally convicted.

The list covers allegations dating from the 1950s to the most recent substantiated allegation in 1993, said Deborah Cox, a spokeswoman for the Diocese.

Cox said Knestout does not know of any priests or deacons currently serving in ministry or in any other capacity with a credible and substantiated allegation of sexual abuse against them. Cox said that if victims come forward with allegations against any clergy in active ministry, Knestout “will respond in accordance with our commitment to addressing allegations of sexual abuse.”

Attorney General Mark Herring said in October that his office and state police were investigating possible clergy sexual abuse of children and whether any church officials may have covered up or “abetted any such crimes.”

Herring set up a hotline and an online reporting form for any victims to report abuse — the toll-free hotline (833-454-9064) will allow for anonymous reporting and will be staffed by Virginia State Police investigators during regular business hours, according to the AG’s office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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