Virginia priest on leave over youth interaction complaints

December 12, 2018 GMT

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A Catholic diocese in Virginia is assessing complaints against a priest concerning his interactions with children.

News outlets report that Bishop of Richmond Barry Knestout has stressed that Rev. Joseph Metzger of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Norfolk is not accused of child sexual abuse.

Knestout said the complaints concerned interactions “not in keeping with the Code of Conduct with Minors.” The Diocese of Richmond has a code of conduct designed to “provide a safe environment” for minors and vulnerable adults.

Metzger is on leave.

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.