Nearly two decades after resigning from his post amid multiple allegations of sexual assault against children, former Catholic priest Kenneth Lewis faces charges relating to a decade-old incident inside an Illinois hotel room.
In that incident, “Father Ken,” a former pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy on a trip in late July 2001, in a hotel at 1501 Sherman Ave., the Evanston police source told the Chicago Sun-Times. The hotel at that address is now the Holiday Inn Chicago North.
The boy’s parents filed a report with Tulsa police in June 2004, nearly three years after the alleged assault. Authorities in Oklahoma referred the case to Evanston police, and now, 14 years later, Lewis has been criminally charged in the case.
The former priest was known to Catholic church officials as a child molestor:
In 1994, Bishop Edward Slattery of the Catholic Diocese of Tulsa sent Lewis to treatment after he was made aware of several accusations stemming from the early 1990s, according to news reports at the time.
Authorities had investigated those claims, but they said they could not file charges because the statute of limitations in the cases had expired. As many as six victims had come forward with complaints against Lewis.
Following treatment, Lewis was permitted to resume active ministry in 1995, with the stipulation that he have no alone time with children.
Lewis served as an associate pastor at a number of Oklahoma churches before he was appointed pastor of St. John’s Catholic Church in McAlester, Oklahoma.
In 2002, Lewis resigned from his position after diocese officials renewed investigations into claims that he improperly touched young boys in 1993 and 1994. In 2007, Lewis became the first pastor in the Tulsa Diocese to become laicized, or disallowed from further work as an ordained minister.
According to his attorney, Stephen M. Komie, Lewis has denied all allegations against him, is expecting to plead not guilty, and has the full support of his family.