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Black Collar Crime: Catholic Priest Kenneth Lewis Facing Child Sexual Abuse Charges

kenneth lewis

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Kenneth Lewis, a Catholic priest, is facing child sexual abuse charges stemming from an allegation that he sexually assaulted a thirteen-year-old boy while on trip. Lewis has been accused numerous times over the years of sexual abuse, but due to the statute of limitations, he was never prosecuted. Astoundingly, in 1995, after yet another round of sexual abuse allegations,  Lewis was allowed to continue in the ministry once he received “treatment.” According to Chicago Sun Times, Catholic officials ordered Lewis not to be alone with children. This is akin to a sugar addict working in a candy store being told not eat the merchandise.  The crimes Lewis is now accused of were allegedly committed in 2001. It seems, then, that whatever “treatment” Lewis received did not cure him of his predilection towards sexually abusing children.


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    I wouldn’t describe him being allowed to continue in the ministry as “astounding”: this is a widespread practice in the Catholic Church, very few priests are defrocked (and the ones that are, often for something hugely less disturbing).)

    What we have here is yet another case of a sexual abuser being protected by his superiors: they are treating the whole issue as a pastoral problem rather than what it is, a crime. STILL not accepting or understanding in any way the magnitude of damage that has been caused.

    As with the story above of the guy in Madisonville who is working with the church community after raping a child, there are congregants who are complicit. They might not have known about this man’s sexual crimes AT THE TIME but they presumably do now. . .and they are still there, being loyal! What kind of person is happy to accept Communion from someone who has raped children? Jeez. . .

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    He is a former priest – the first Catholic priest in Oklahoma to be laicized. I am so sorry for the victims. Ken was a good friend of mine in high school through CYO and while I believe the victims, part of me still wonders if he could have been stopped and helped much earlier in life. Hoping for justice and peace for all of the victims and families involved.

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      Sorry, Paula, almost the survivors of sexual abuse will say they are a very long way from experiencing ‘peace’ even after many decades. It has ruined their lives.
      This quote is from an official Commission on Child Abuse in British Institutions. It refers to the over 1000 survivors who gave evidence:
      A third of survivors giving evidence to the inquiry’s Truth Project reported depression and a lack of trust in authority, while 28 per cent had considered suicide. One fifth had tried to kill themselves and another 22 per cent had self-harmed. Panic attacks, low self-confidence, obsessions, eating disorders, and alcohol and drug use were also reported by people who gave distressing accounts of the impact of flashbacks and trauma throughout their adult lives. “I could be in a party and having the best time of my life, but I could smell something or somebody could say something or somebody could touch me and I’m right back to the abuse,” said one survivor. “Until the day I die that’s never going to change.”
      And praying one’s socks off 24/7 for years ain’t EVAH gonna make the slightest difference to that.

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        Sadly, I do understand the long term effects on abuse survivors from a firsthand basis. And I couldn’t agree more about “thoughts and prayers”. I hope for justice – peace is, admittedly, unlikely.
        No offense intended.

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