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Catholic Diocese of Richmond says allegations one priest found not credible

Catholic Diocese of Richmond says allegations one priest found not credible

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The Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced Thursday that child sexual abuse allegations against Thomas Long, a former priest of the diocese, were not credible and that his name will not be added to its list of clergy for which credible and substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse have been made.

The allegations were part of an investigation launched in June 2020 after the diocese received an allegation of child sexual abuse against Long, who was accused of the abuse while serving at Christ the King School in Norfolk in 1986. He was ordained as a priest in the diocese in 1981 before serving at St. Joseph in Petersburg and Norfolk’s Christ the King.

Long took a leave of absence from ministry in 1988 and was already suspended from priestly ministry, and remained suspended last summer when the investigation began.

In accordance with the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the diocese conducted an investigation and its report was turned over to the Diocesan Review Board. The board’s recommendations were accepted by Bishop Barry C. Knestout, who concluded publicly Thursday that the allegations were not credible.

A written release on Thursday stated that “just as the diocese strives to remain transparent when child sexual abuse allegations are brought forward, the diocese will also publicly clear the accused of any wrongdoing when an accused is subjected to unsupported allegations.”

Long was one of four people named in last summer’s investigation, which came a year after Virginia’s two Catholic Dioceses named 51 priests that the church said had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The Diocese of Richmond named 42 priests on that list, most of whom were already deceased.

Related to this story

Bishop Barry C. Knestout kneeled during the Mass of Atonement at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart on Sept. 14, 2018.

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