Father Augustine Ludwig (Benedictine)
Diocese of Richmond
Assigned as follows:
- St. Benedict’s (Richmond, VA)
- Benedictine High School (Richmond, VA)
- DeSales Catholic School (Spokane, WA)
- St. Patrick Church (Walla Walla, WA)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Augustine Ludwig (Benedictine):
Father Augustine Ludwig was originally a Marianist brother. He joined the Benedictines in 1983 and was ordained as a priest in 1987. He transferred to the Richmond Diocese in 1988, where he held several positions including parochial vicar, headmaster, and subprior and master of novices for the Benedictine Abbey. He worked in schools from Hawaii to Virginia.
According to media reports, Ludwig was accused of sexually abusing at least five teenage boys while principal at DeSales Catholic School in Spokane, Washington, in the 1970s. Some of his alleged victims said he gave them alcohol and fondled them during school trips to Spokane and other cities.
One accuser said the principal pinned the boy in the corner of the couch and reached down his pants. He tried to get the boy to reciprocate, and forcefully kissed him on the mouth,
“The whole time he was saying, ‘There’s really nothing wrong with this, you know,”‘ he said. “‘If you think there’s something wrong with this, maybe you’re the one with a problem.”‘ The boy escaped and ran home.
In 1998, one of Ludwig’s accusers found out where Ludwig was living and notified the Spokane Diocese of his abuse. Spokane Bishop William Skylstad launched a church investigation. He immediately called Richmond Bishop Walter Sullivan and the Abbot Richard McDermott, who was in charge of the Benedictine abbey where Ludwig was living and working. Ludwig was removed from his job and then sent to outpatient treatment for almost two years.
Afterward, he was assigned as an assistant pastor at St. Benedict’s. Bishop Sullivan assured the other bishop that he would keep Brother Ludwig away from children.
In April 2004, the Diocese of Spokane settled five legal cases involving Ludwig, and had the files sealed.
Ludwig died in 2007.
In February 2019, Ludwig’s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Richmond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. It notes that he “abandoned ministry.” at some point before his death.
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