Rev. Jerome A. Wagner

Summary of Case: Wagner was accused in the 1980s of giving alcohol to young people and making sexual advances toward a 15-year- old boy. He remained in ministry until 2002, when the U.S. bishops estabished a zero tolerance sexual abuse policy. By 2007 he was laicized.

: 1972


Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Milwaukee archbishop was William Edward Cousins (1958-1977)

1978 Immaculate Conception West Bend WI 2/2 Immaculate Conception had a school with 268-235 students.


Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B. succeeded Cousins (1977-2002)

1983 St. Francis De Sales Prep. Seminary High School/Call to Ministry Program Milwaukee WI Faculty member; Vocational Director 1978-1979 and 1980-1983; Co-Director 1979-1980. This school had 145-55 students.
1983 1986 St. Jerome's


In the 1980s Wagner was accused of supplying alcohol to young people and of making sexual advances toward a 15 year-old boy on one of those occasions in the St. Jerome rectory.

WI 2/2, 1/2 St. Jerome's had a school with 281-304 students.
1986 2000 St. Louis Fond du Lac WI 1/1 St. Louis' had an elementary school with 431-163 students until 1992, at which point it consolidated with other area Catholic schools to form FACES (Fond du Lac Area Catholic Education System). St. Louis' had a religious education program with 243-172 students.
1997 2000 St. Peter's St. Peter WI 1/1 St. Peter's had a religious education program with 175-171 students.
2000 2002 Holy Family Fond du Lac WI 5/5 Holy Family had a religious education program with 974-1,690 students. (St. Louis' and St. Peter's closed in 2000.)


Timothy Michael Dolan replaced Weakland (2002-2009)

2003 On Leave       Wagner is not indexed beyond the 2003 Directory.
2003 2012   Fond du Lac WI  

Wagner was removed from active ministry in August 2002 after the U.S. Bishops established a "zero tolerance" sexual abuse policy. By Nov. 2007 he had been laicized.

In May 2012 the archdiocese acknowledged paying Wagner $20,000 to leave ministry. They explained that they paid Wagner and other priests leaving the ministry as "a form of charity".

Wagner graduated fro mortuary school in 2004 and was known in 2012 to be a licensed funeral director in Fon du Lac.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1973-2003)

Local Priests' Futures Hang in Balance As Bishops Meet, By Sam Lucero, Catholic Herald, June 13, 2002
2 More Priests to Be Removed, Archdiocese Aiming to Comply with Abuse Policy, By Tom Heinen, Journal Sentinel Online, August 20, 2002
Eisenberg Commission Releases Final Report, By Sam Lucero, Milwaukee Catholic Herald, September 19, 2002
Restricted Diocesan Priests Due to Substantiated Reports of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, July 9, 2004
List of 43 Abusive Priests Released, Dolan Names Only Diocesan Clergy in Long-Awaited Move, By Tom Heinen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Wisconsin], July 10, 2004
Archdiocese of Milwaukee List of Clergy Offenders, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, March 3, 2012
Archdiocese Confirms Payments to Abusive Priests Who Left Ministry, By Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 30, 2012
Ex-priest: Archdiocese Payment Helped in New Life, Boston Globe, May 31, 2012
Wis. Archdiocese No Longer Paying Priests to Leave, Helena Independent Record, May 31, 2012
Jerome Wagner Assignment Record, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, NoDate

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 Wagner's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Nov. 8, 2012.