Tulsa Catholic Bishop Edward Slattery responds to abuse allegations

Tuesday, July 30th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Bishop Edward Slattery addressed the public Tuesday for the first time since reports of abuse by a McAlester priest surfaced over the weekend.

News on Six reporter Patrina Adger was at the Holy Family Cathedral Church where Bishop Slattery addressed those allegations head-on. Bishop Slattery in that press conference did acknowledge he knew about the alleged sexual misconduct by Father Ken Lewis.

He expressed remorse and sadness towards the victims who have been damaged or scarred as a result. Bishop Slattery said in 1994 someone did come to him with an allegation of misconduct by Father Ken Lewis when he was a priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

Slattery immediately relieved him of his duties but Lewis was brought back the following year after being sent to a psychiatric treatment facility for evaluation. With recent allegations of abuse by Lewis at a camp this past spring, Bishop Slattery said if he knew then what he knows now he would have never let Father Lewis back into the ministry. "I now believe I should have never placed Father Lewis in any position which might have placed any young person at any risk and I take responsibility for not having correctly read all the signs of Father Lewis inappropriate behavior."

Lewis resigned from St John the Evangelist Church in McAlester last week. He says although it was a mistake to bring Father Lewis back he also emphasized Lewis is not charged with anything at this time.

Bishop Slattery encourages victims who've experienced any form of inappropriate behavior to report it immediately to the authorities.