Retired Virginia priest accused of child sexual abuse

WSLS 10 News [Roanoke, VA]

July 18, 2023

By Alli Graham, Digital Content Producer

A man who once served in St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Roanoke has been accused of child sexual abuse, according to the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

Officials said the report of the alleged incident took place in the 1980s while Fr. Walter Lewis was serving as pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church, in Bristol.

In the release, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond said Lewis was ordained in 1979 and served at the following parishes as either pastor or parochial vicar until his retirement in May 2023:

  • Holy Spirit, Virginia Beach
  • St. Andrew, Roanoke
  • St. Anne, Bristol
  • St. Mary, Richmond
  • St. Bridget, Richmond
  • St. John Neumann, Powhatan
  • Good Samaritan, Amelia

According to the diocese, Lewis has denied the allegation, which has been reported to law enforcement.

As a result of the reports, officials said that Lewis is now prohibited from any public ministry in the diocese while the investigation is underway.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond is continuing to encourage those 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, as well as to contact the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603 or by email.