Departed Priest Topic of Meeting

Capital Times
November 3, 1992

More than 450 members of Holy Name Catholic Church met with Archbishop Rembert Weakland to discuss the departure of their pastor amid allegations that he sexually molested young children.

The archbishop was asked at the gathering Monday whether Rev. William Effinger, 59, would ever be reassigned to another ministry.

"Right now, my decision is anyone in a situation like Father Bill will never be reassigned to any pastoral ministry," Weakland said. "I don't think he can be assigned anywhere, period."

But the archbishop added that "I don't have the power to dismiss someone from the priesthood."

Weakland acknowledged that 14 years ago an unrelated accusation of child sexual abuse was brought to him against Effinger. He said that, at that time, he took the advice of psychologists that the priest could be treated and returned to parish ministry.

The archbishop expressed regret that parishioners had to hear of the allegations in a television interview.

Effinger left Holy Name two weeks ago after admitting in a television interview that he molested a teenage boy 23 years ago while serving in Kenosha. Since then, some others have also contended Effinger abused them as children.


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