William C. Poepperling

Summary of Cases: In 2005, two women sued the archdiocese of St. Louis, accusing Poepperling of sexual and physical abuse while he was pastor of Holy Guardian Angels church in St. Louis. In one case, the abuse included forced sexual intercourse and severe beatings. That child was 4 years old when the abuse began in 1953 and 8 years old when it ended. See complaint. The other victim alleges sexual abuse 1956-59.

: 1934
Incardinated: St. Louis MO
Retired: 1979
Died: 5/18/83

Poepperling in St. Louis, 1952 or 1953.

Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes
1934 1942 St. Philip Neri North St. Louis MO 3/3 and 2/3. Assistant. Rev. Thomas D. Kennedy was pastor. Other priest was Rev. Thomas J. Odlum. In 1940 Odlum left, and Rev. Edwin J. Burmester became the third priest. Incardinated in the St. Louis archdiocese. School run by the Sisters of St. Joseph had 460 pupils in 1934-35.
1942 1943 Our Lady of Sorrows South St. Louis MO 3/3. Assistant. Pastor was Rt. Rev. B.S.A. Stolte, dean of the South St. Louis deanery and a justice on the tribunal. Other priest was Rev. Julian E. Meyer. School run by the Sisters of Notre Dame had 656 pupils in 1942-43.
1943 1945 U.S. Army     Army Reserve Chaplain on Active Duty  
1945 1949 Corpus Christi Jennings MO 3/3 then 2/3. Assistant. Pastor was E.J. Blankemeier. Other priest was Rev. James Huelster. In 1946, Huelster left and Joseph F. Seckinger became the third priest. Rev. Charl [sic] F. Torrence replaced Seckinger in 1948. School run by the Ursuline Sisters had 642 pupils in 1945-46.
1949 1951 St. Louis Bonnots Mill MO 1/1. Pastor. District Public School run by the Ursuline Sisters had 48 pupils in 1949-50.
1951 1964 Holy Guardian Angels St. Louis

• Two women have accused Poepperling of abusing them physically and sexually while they were little girls at this parish. See St. Louis Post-Dispatch 4.27.05 & 8.26.05; Nicholson Complaint 8.25.05
MO 1/2 then 1/1 then 1/2. Pastor. Other priest in 1951-52 was Rev. John H. Cook. Rev. Robert J. Schwegel arrived in 1953, and Rev. Robert E. Clarke replaced Schwegel in 1954. Rev. Alexander W. Lippert replaced Clarke in 1956. Rev. Hugh M. Carroll replaced Lippert in 1959. Rev. Donald H. Heck replaced Carroll in 1963. In the 1990s Heck served time in prison for the abuse of an 11-year-old boy. School run by the Sisters of St. Joseph had 384 pupils in 1952-53.
1964 1979 St. Paul, Apostle Pine Lawn MO 1/3 then 1/2 then 1/1 then 1/2. Pastor. Other priests were Revs. James J. Lesyna and John I. Caffe. Rev. Richard Money replaced Caffe in 1965. Revs. Donald H. Heck and Jerome J. Kelley replaced Lesyna and Money in 1967. In 1968 Heck left, and in 1969 Kelley left. After several years during which Poepperling was the sole priest, Rev. Al [sic] Lippert arrived in 1973. School run by the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross had 402 pupils in 1965-66.
1979         Retired  
1979 5/18/83 Incarnate Word Chesterfield MO 4/4. In residence. Pastor was Rev. Joseph A. O'Brien. Other priests were Revs. Norman C. Schrodi and Gary L. Vollmer. In 1981, O'Brien and Vollmer were replaced by Rev. Msgr. Norbert J. Dietz and Rev. Aloysious Rocklage, who became pastor and number two priest. In 1982 Schrodi left. School had 420 pupils in 1979-80.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy, 1935-84).

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Poepperling's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with accusations as recorded in court filings and reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report. We remind our readers that in the U.S. judicial system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.

This assignment record was last updated on 11/7/05.