NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk priest has been suspended of his duties after another violation of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s code of conduct involving minors.
In a press release, the diocese said the violation committed by Father Joseph H. Metzger III doesn’t involve accusations of sexual abuse, but it’s at least the second time he’s violated the church’s code for contact with minors.
This most recent suspension for the pastor of Blessed Sacrament in Norfolk became effective on Friday, a week after a complaint was sent to the Diocesan Office of Safe Environment. The diocese says the office reviewed the complaint and consulted with the Diocesan Review Board before Bishop Barry C. Knestout decided to suspend Metzger. The complaint was also reported to law enforcement.
In the meantime, the diocese says Metzger won’t be able to conduct his regular duties as a priest, such as administering sacraments and conducting Mass, and he’s barred from interacting with minors.
Just seven months ago on Dec. 8, Metzger was placed on a temporary leave of absence due to previous conduct violations involving minors. The diocese didn’t say whether the most recent complaint was connected to the past violations in any way. Metzger had just been reassigned to duties in Richmond on July 1 before the suspension.