Retired Priest Accused of Abuse Is Defrocked

By Ken Leiser
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
May 13, 2006

A retired Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing children in Iowa during the 1970s and '80s before moving to the St. Louis area nearly two years ago has been defrocked, the Davenport Diocese confirmed Friday.

William Wiebler sparked concerns among neighbors after leaving the St. John Vianney Renewal Center in Jefferson County in spring 2004 and moving to an apartment building in University City.

In a news release this week, the Davenport Diocese announced that Bishop William Franklin had received formal notification from the Vatican that Wiebler had been laicized, or defrocked. The decree by Pope Benedict XVI cannot be appealed.

Deacon David Montgomery said Wiebler has been informed of his laicization.

Wiebler admitted molesting minors in the 1970s and 1980s, church officials said, and has been named in lawsuits. He was never charged with a crime. The statute of limitations in Iowa had run out by the time the accusations surfaced. He retired from the priesthood in 1991.

In October 2002, Franklin asked Wiebler to check into the Jefferson County treatment center. He also ordered him to refrain from contact with minors.

Wiebler walked away from the treatment facility in 2004. It is one of a handful of facilities that treat priests with emotional and substance abuse problems.

Wiebler moved to an apartment building that is near two schools. 314-340-8215


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