Rev. Carl Wernet

Summary of Case: At least 22 women have come forward with accusations that Wernet sexually abused them when they were elementary school students at St. Joseph's in Avon Lake, OH. Wernet typically called girls between the ages of 8 and 10 out of class to molest them in his office. He would reward them with gifts, such as holy cards and prayer books. He would also tell them they would go to hell if they told.

: 1953


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Cleveland bishop was Edward Francis Hoban (1945-1966)

1966 St. Joseph's

Avon Lake

• In 1991, a woman went told diocesan officials that Wernet had sexually abused her 30 years previously, when she was a young girl and he was a priest at St. Joseph's. The woman placed ads in newspapers seeking other victims. Five more women came forward with similar allegations. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
November 1, 1992) A lawsuit was filed in 1993 by 8 women alleging child sexual abuse by Wernet , and by July 1995 22 women had come forward. Some of the women said their parents had complained to the diocese about Wernet. Wernet's personnel file was destroyed when he died in 1980. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
July 26, 1995) Wernet is said to have targeted girls ages 8-10. He would give them gifts of holy cards, rosaries and such, and would threaten them by saying they would go to hell if they told. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland Ohio]
March 11, 2002)


1/1 ,1/2


St. Joseph's had a school with 188-647 students.


Hoban was replaced by Clarence George Issenmann (1966-1974)

1969 Blessed Sacrament Cleveland OH 1//3, 1/2 Blessed Sacrament had a school with 451-405 students.


Following Issenmann as bishop was James Aloysius Hickey (1974-1980)



St. Francis Cleveland OH 1/3, 2/4, 2/5 St. Francis had a school with 242-149 students.


Michael Anthony Pilla succeeded Hickey (1980-2006)

1981 Retired Cleveland OH   Wernet died April 27, 1980

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1953-1980)

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 Wernet'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 Oct. 23, 2009