Fr. Henry Xavier Vetter

Order: CP
Ordained: 1938
Status: Sued

Died: 05/24/1977
Diocese: Archdiocese of Los Angeles CA

Early priesthood was in AL, then preached retreats and missions throughout the Midwest. Was sent to the West Coast in 1950, learning Spanish and “moving among the little towns of N. CA and NV.  Assigned to a Mater Dolorosa Monastery in Sierra Madre, CA, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1953-1973.  Started a non-profit in 1963, establishing and supporting orphanages and schools in Baja CA. Died in 1977 in a truck crash in Baja CA; four orphan boys, who survived, were with him. Had been living in Mexico at the Rancho Nazareth boys’ orphanage. Would travel to his nonprofit’s headquarters in Petaluma CA once a week. Called the ‘Magic Priest,’ per his obituary, because he did “magic tricks to win the hearts of children in remote villages.” Suspected of child sexual abuse in Detroit MI, in the 1940s. Accused in 1993 of abuse in the early 1960s. Several other allegations later received of abuse in the 1960s and early 1970s. Per the 2004 L.A. Archdiocesan report, there were seven accusers, of abuse occurring 1953-1973. Named in at least one suit in 2003. Added to the KC-St Joseph list; one substantiated allegation of abuse in the diocese noted. Included on the Springfield-Cape Girardeau list of accused 4/13/2021.

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