Former Tulsa Priest Charged With Child Sexual Assault - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

News: Crime

Former Tulsa Priest Charged With Child Sexual Assault

Posted: Updated:
Former Tulsa priest Kenneth Wray Lews. Former Tulsa priest Kenneth Wray Lews.
EVANSTON, Illinois -

A former Oklahoma priest has been charged with sexual assault against a minor in Evanston, Illinois. Evanston Police say Kenneth Lewis assaulted a 13-year-old Tulsa boy at hotel in that town in late 2001.

Lewis was visiting Illinois from Tulsa with the victim and his family when the assault allegedly occurred, according to the CBS affiliate in Chicago.

The incident wasn’t reported for another three years, according to Evanston Police.

“Lewis could not be charged as part of this initial investigation,” according to a news release from Evanston Police.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in December 2017 following a reopened investigation by the Cook County State’s Attorney and Evanston Police.

"The victim had to wait a long time for an arrest," said Commander Ryan Glew with Evanston Police. "Even given a couple years and being a little older, 16-17 years old when the crime it was reported, it took a lot of bravery."

Lewis had been in Ecuador, and was arrested upon his return to the U.S. on May 9 at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, police said. He is charged with predatory sexual assault of a child.

A judge May 19 ordered Lewis held on $100,000 bond. He posted bail and was released from custody the same day.

According to an Associated Press story published in July, 2002, Lewis was allowed to remain on the job in Oklahoma in spite of accusations of inappropriate behavior with several boys in the early 1990s. 

7/27/2002 Related Story: McAlester priest is accused of improper behavior

In an interview with News On 6 in 2002, "Father Ken" said his demonstration of caring had been grossly misinterpreted.

"To one observer, my caring was too personal, and we discussed it at length and I was cleared and I have never had any sexual contact with any young person," he said. "I have never done anything to be considered sexual contact or molestation."

Lewis had been sent to treatment in 1994 by Bishop Edward Slattery of the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa. The Chicago Sun Times reports that as many as six victims came forward with complaints against Lewis, but he was not charged because the statute of limitations in the cases had expired.

Lewis served at St. John Catholic Church in McAlester after treatment then in 2007 became the first pastor in the Tulsa Diocese to become laicized - or prohibited from further work as a pastor.

In 2009, a person identified as "John Doe" sued Lewis, Slattery and the Diocese of Tulsa in civil court for breach of fiduciary duty, failure to warn, failure to investigate, negligent retention, negligent supervision, battery, two counts of fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. 

That case was settled in 2011.

In a statement, the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma points to a 2002 article written by Bishop Edward Slattery, titled "I apologize from the bottom of my heart," where he publicly responds to allegations of sexual abuse by Lewis. You can read the full statement and article below:

Special Features

Bridge Tracker

How safe are Oklahoma?s bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

Fallen Heroes

The News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

Links

Looking for a website or event you heard mentioned on The News On 6? Find it here!

Murrah Bombing Timeline

Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

Live Traffic

Get the latest road conditions on Green Country roadways.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Featured on NewsOn6.com

  • Cold Cases

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Crime Survival Guide

    What can you do to survive a crime? Find advice for personal safety here.

  • Links

    Looking for a website you heard mentioned on News On 6? Find it here!

Powered by Frankly
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 KOTV. Oklahoma Traveler™ is a registered trademark of Griffin Communications. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.