Fr. John Paul Blankenship – Diocese of Richmond

Father John Paul Blankenship

Diocese of Richmond

Ordained: 1963

Removed: 2002

Laicized: Unknown

Assigned as follows:

  • 1963-1965     Sacred Heart of Jesus (Winchester, VA)
  • 1965-1967      St. Agnes (Arlington, VA)
  • 1967-1968      St. Mary Star of the Sea (Fort Monroe, VA)
  • 1967-1968      St. Joseph’s (Buckroe Beach, VA)
  • 1968-1969      St. Rose of Lima (Hampton, VA)
  • 1969-1970      Christ the King (Burlington, VA)
  • 1970-1973      St. Mary’s (Richmond, VA)
  • 1973-1977      St. John’s (Highland Springs, VA)
  • 1977-1984      Sacred Heart of Jesus (New Bohemia, VA)
  • 1983-2002      Federal Correctional Institution (Petersburg, VA)
  • 1996-1998      St. Ann’s (Petersburg, VA)
  • 2002                St. James’ (Hopewell, VA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father John Paul Blankenship:

According to media reports, in 1988, a man alleged that Father John Paul Blankenship sexually abused him as a 14-year-old boy in 1982. Blankenship apologized to the victim and paid for his college education and counseling. He was also sent to treatment at St. Luke’s Institute, a notorious treatment facility for pedophile priests in Maryland, for seven months, followed by six years of outpatient treatment. Blankenship reportedly admitted to abusing the boy when asked about it by Diocesan officials.

Despite admitting to sexual misconduct with a minor, Father Blankenship was kept in active ministry until August 2002 when he was forced to retire. That same month he was indicted on charges of sodomizing the 1982 victim. When the victim learned the priest was living in a parish, and that Blankenship might be “maneuvering his way back to working with children”, the victim pressed criminal charges. 

In January 2003, Blankenship pleaded guilty to sodomy and was sentenced to indefinite supervised probation. His victim stated that Bishop Sullivan told him the previous summer that he knew of another alleged Blankenship victim, who was deceased. 

Blankenship is now a registered sex offender. In February 2019, his name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. He was eventually laicized.

According to his most recent sex offender registry, Blankenship is still residing in the Richmond area.  He is 82 years old.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Richmond.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Richmond, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Richmond now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.