Former Tulsa priest charged with sexually abusing teen in 2001

Tulsa World
May 23, 2018

This undated photo provided by the Evanston Police Department in Evanston, Ill., shows, Kenneth Lewis. Lewis, A former Catholic priest has been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in a suburban Chicago hotel in 2001 after police reopened an investigation that had been dormant for more than a decade.

[With link to docket and several court documents.]

From 2002: Exonerated priest faces the public

A former Catholic priest ordained in Tulsa has been charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in a suburban Chicago hotel in 2001.

The charges were filed after police reopened an investigation that had been dormant for more than a decade.

Kenneth Lewis, 56, of Arvada, Colorado, is charged with felony criminal predatory sexual assault. He posted bail after a court hearing in Chicago on Saturday.

Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew said the assault is alleged to have occurred when the then-priest accompanied the boy and his family on a trip from Tulsa to Evanston, Illinois. He said the family reported the incident in 2004 but that prosecutors declined to charge Lewis.

An Evanston detective reopened the investigation last fall, and an arrest warrant was issued for Lewis. Glew says Lewis left the priesthood in 2007.

According to Tulsa World archives, the Tulsa couple and their teenage son filed, in an Illinois court, a civil molestation lawsuit in March 2007 against the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa and Lewis. They also sued in Tulsa County District Court in 2010, and Oklahoma court records online indicate that case was settled out of court in 2011.

Lewis, who was ordained in 1991 at Holy Family Cathedral in downtown Tulsa, had previously faced accusations of inappropriate behavior with boys in 1993. Those allegations involved physical contact with boys while he was associate pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tulsa.

Then-Bishop Edward J. Slattery investigated at that time and removed Lewis from his position at St. Mary’s.

Lewis was sent to a psychiatric treatment facility for evaluation. He returned to active ministry in Tulsa in 1995 under the condition that he not be alone with minors.

He resigned from the ministry in 2002 when those allegations resurfaced during the national sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Later that year, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris looked into the early 1990s allegations against Lewis but declined to file criminal charges, citing the statute of limitations.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Diocese said it “is committed to our children and to full cooperation with civil authorities.

“As Bishop David Konderla stated in his June 30, 2016, letter promulgating the new Policies & Procedures for the Protection of Children and Young People (“Policies”), ‘the Diocese of Tulsa continues to make every effort to ensure it employs the best practices in establishing a safe environment throughout the diocese.’

“Through structures of support and accountability, the policies help establish a child-centered culture of safety and responsibility in every Catholic parish and school.

“Our efforts in child and youth protection include comprehensive safe environment training for all employees and volunteers, detailed and transparent procedures on addressing allegations, and a code of ethics that articulates clear moral standards for all who work with children. The policies are available in English and Spanish and are posted on the diocesan website.

“In addition, the Diocese employs a full-time Director of Child & Youth Protection who, through a series of support visits and ongoing assistance, helps ensure our parishes and schools are providing the safest environment for the children under our care.”



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