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  Priest Faces Additional Sex Counts
Illegal Acts with 2 Boys Alleged in Indictment

By Russ Hemphill
Phoenix Gazette
March 31, 1993

A Chandler priest's indictment Tuesday on eight sex crimes includes new allegations involving boys in 1987.

A Maricopa County grand jury charged the Rev. Wilputte Alanson "Lan"

Sherwood, 47, with four sex counts stemming from his March 11 arrest on allegations of exposing himself to a 17-year-old hitchhiker.

The remaining charges allege he engaged in felony sex acts with two boys -- one younger than 15 -- more than five years ago. The indictment alleges the priest had oral sex with the boys individually in two separate incidents.

Authorities arrested Sherwood in Prescott late Tuesday. He was expected to be jailed in Maricopa County today.

Sherwood, who helped found St. Benedict Catholic Church in Chandler in 1985, resigned after his March 11 arrest when he picked up the hitchhiker.

A judge released him on his own recognizance March 12. The Phoenix Diocese placed him on paid administrative leave.

The grand jury charged Sherwood with furnishing obscene materials to a minor, indecent exposure, transportation of a person for prostitution or other immoral purpose, and attempted child prostitution in the March 11 incident.

Sherwood allegedly picked the youth up on Interstate 10 south of Phoenix and took him to the church rectory, 6400 W. Del Rio St., where the acts mentioned in the indictment allegedly took place.

The indictment also charges Sherwood with engaging in oral sexual contact with a minor older than 15 on April 24, 1987.

On Sept. 22, 1987, Sherwood also allegedly performed the same act with a minor younger than 15.

The priest allegedly took photographs or tape-recorded the boys engaged in sex acts.

Police reportedly seized videotapes from Sherwood's residence in the rectory after his arrest earlier this month.

According to the search warrant affidavit, Sherwood told police he had sex with a boy as young as 15 between three and five years ago.

Sherwood also told police he had sex with about 10 minors during the mid-1980s, according to the affidavit.

The youths were identified by their first names in the indictment. The Gazette is not naming the juveniles because of the nature of the charges against Sherwood.

If the charges are true, the indictment shows Sherwood engaged in illegal sex acts about a year after he was arrested and convicted in Phoenix in 1986 of masturbating in public.

He pleaded guilty to that charge and paid a $300 fine.

Bishop Thomas O'Brien learned of the offense at the time but allowed Sherwood to remain a priest at the Chandler church.

O'Brien said he he did not know about a 1984 charge against Sherwood in which the priest also pleaded guilty to masturbating in public and was also fined $300.

 
 

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