Salinas-Based Priest Removed over 'Spanking' Allegation

By Sunita Vijayan
The Californian
January 26, 2010

CALIFORNIA -- A priest on loan to the Diocese of Monterey has been removed from his duties at a Salinas church after allegations surfaced last week that he had "overzealously spanked" a boy in Santa Rosa 36 years ago.

The Rev. Ron Wiecek has been working in the Salinas Valley on behalf of the local Diocese for the past 20 years, said the Rev. Mike Miller, a priest at Sacred Heart Church in Salinas.

For the past seven months Wiecek has served as the priest-in-residence at Sacred Heart, Miller said.

"He was very, very loved here," he said. "We're very sorry to see him go."

Wiecek belongs to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, a Catholic religious order whose pillars are "mission, community and spirituality," according to the order's Web site.

Wiecek worked with immigrants in the U.S. and help them make the transition into American life, Miller said.

In 1974, Wiecek was teaching at a school in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. It is there that he is accused of excessively punishing a boy who is now in his 40s, said Warren Hoy, spokesman for the Diocese of Monterey.

The Diocese of Santa Rosa is handling the matter, he said.

A representative for the Diocese of Santa Rosa could not be reached for comment Monday.

"The bishop ... revoked Father Ron's faculties," Hoy said. "[Wiecek] is not allowed to serve as a priest in the diocese while the allegation is being investigated."

Hoy said the Diocese of Monterey is seeking to get more information on the allegations.

"Everybody's kind of confused right now," Hoy said. "Why is he bringing this up now?"

Hoy said it is possible that Wiecek will return to Salinas if he is cleared of the allegations.

Miller said Wiecek was on an assignment in Mexico last year before coming back to Salinas.

Wiecek's work in county

In his service to the Diocese of Monterey, he said, Wiecek helped in a number of parishes, including Soledad, Greenfield and the Monterey Peninsula.

"He does have a wonderful heart for immigrants," Miller said.

Wiecek, 65, contacted through Miller, declined to comment. Wiecek was en route to Ohio Monday afternoon, Miller said.

David Sullivan, principal of Palma High School, said Wiecek taught at the campus from 1990-91, and had been hired by former principal Brother Patrick Dunne.

According to Dunne, Sullivan said, Wiecek had been a "very upbeat, positive person, a joy to be around."


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