Rev. William F. Wiebler

Summary of Case: In a May 2002 meeting with Bishop Franklin and Chancellor Loftus, Wiebler reportedly admitted abusing at least 12 boys, but the diocese waited nearly two years before beginning the process to laicize him. Ordained in 1955, Wiebler worked in 7 parishes (4 as pastor), and also taught at St. Ambrose Academy (1 year) and continued at the school when it was renamed Assumption High School (6 years). Wiebler was accused priest Geerts's successor at St. Boniface in Farmington. There are allegations of abuse against Wiebler from his years at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bettendorf. In 1985, Wiebler was pulled from St. Mary of the Visitation in Ottumwa, where he was pastor, and sent away to northwestern Mississippi, where he was an editor for Sacred Heart League publications. In a 2004 deposition, former Vicar General Morrissey confirmed that Bishop O'Keefe "knew about what happened down in Ottumwa with Father Wiebler." In 1995, Wiebler moved to St. Petersburg FL, where he reportedly worked as a cruise ship chaplain. In 2002 Bishop Franklin ordered Wiebler to the St. John Vianney Renewal Center in St. Louis, run by the Servants of the Paraclete. Wiebler left the center in spring 2004 and now lives near an elementary school in University City MO. Wiebler retired in 2001.

: Wiebler was 76 on 2/25/04.
Ordained: June 4, 1955
Incardinated: Davenport IA
Retired: 2001 (according to the Official Catholic Directory; the diocese gives 11/20/91 as a retirement date)


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Comment
6/23/55 6/20/57 Sts. Peter and Paul

Clear Creek IA Assistant, 2/2. Pastor was Rev. Paul Kleinfelder. School had 55 pupils in 1955-56.
6/20/57 6/58 St. Ambrose Academy Davenport IA Faculty: Revs. Edmund J. Weeg, prin.; Anthony L. Conrad, John P. McGrath, John V. Ryan, Robert J. Walter, Charles E. Mann, William F. Dawson, Marvin A. Mottet, William J. Stratman, John P. Boyle, Gerald P. Kraus, Arthur R. Perry, and Wiebler; 4 lay teachers. 465 students in 1957-58.
6/30/57 8/15/57 St. Vincent Home Davenport IA Chaplain  
6/58 7/1/64 Assumption High School

Davenport IA Faculty: Rev. Robert M. Amborn, director; Rev. Edmund J. Weeg, boys prin.; Sister M. Ann Esther, girls prin.; same faculty for 1958-59 as above for St. Ambrose Academy; Rev. Louis M. Colonnese was added in 1960; Rev. Martin Eldred and Carlos Leveling in 1961; Mann became boys prin. in 1962 and Rev. Louis Mulligan was added; Revs. Raymond F. Schwank and Eugene Harasyn were added in 1963 In 1958-59, 487 boys and 452 girls.
7/1/64 8/17/67 St. Mary's

Clinton IA Assistant, 3/3. Pastor was Rt. Rev. Msgr. Ambrose J. Burke, dean of Clinton, censor, and consultor; second priest was Rev. Raymond J. Ruppenkamp. Grade school had 471 students in 1964-65, and the high school had 303.
8/17/67 8/28/69 St. Mary of the Visitation

Iowa City IA Assistant, 2/2. Pastor was Rev. John J. Morrissey, diocesan director of the Boy Scouts. School had 213 pupils in 1967-68. We show an early photo, before the steeple was added.
8/28/69 10/7/71 St. Boniface

Farmington IA Pastor Wiebler succeeds Geerts at the rectory with the double-locked pornography collection. Orgies are alleged to have occurred here under Geerts.
8/28/69 10/7/71 St. Mary's String Prairie IA Pastor Mission attended by Wiebler from Farmington.
10/7/71 8/1/80 Our Lady of Lourdes


Abuse of a little boy is alleged at this parish. The parish Web site describes Wiebler's nine years as pastor.

• A Janssen victim reports that when he was a student at St. Ambrose College, he was sexually attacked by Rev. William Wiebler, whom Janssen had sent, saying that the boy "would not mind."

• A student at St. Ambrose Seminary reports that Wiebler "tried to make some moves on me" during a trip to Rome.
IA Pastor, 1/3, 1/2. Other priests were Rev. Joseph B. Denning and James P. Howard, Edward J. Fitzpatrick, and John D. Spiegel. Denning was head of the Priests' Senate 1972-73, made pastor in 1973, was episcopal vicar of Iowa City 1980-87, and dean of Clinton 1990-94. School had 266 pupils in 1971-72.
8/1/80 2/1/85 St. Mary of the Visitation


• On 6/2/04, Vicar General Morrissey confirmed that Wiebler was removed from Ottumwa for "accusations of sexual misconduct with youths" (p. 184), and that Bishop O'Keefe knew about the accusations at the time of his deposition in then Leu case. In that deposition, O'Keefe denied knowledge (p. 196) of accused priests besides Leu and Martinez, when he knew about Wiebler and Janssen.
IA Pastor, 1/2, 1/1. The other priest (for only a year) was Rev. Dominic J. Cassidy.  
2/1/85 1992 Sacred Heart League

Walls MS Editor. In the Official Catholic Directories for these years, the Sacred Heart League is led by Rev. Robert Hess, S.C.J., with no other priests listed on the staff. On Duty Outside the Diocese. OCDs for 1986-92 list Wiebler as living in Hernando MS, but they do not list him as working for the "League of the Sacred Heart" in Walls MS, as the 2/25/04 diocesan service record states. Walls is in the Jackson MS diocese, not far from Memphis TN, and is an easy drive from Hernando. Beginning with the 1986 OCD, Wiebler's name is given as Weibler, which displaces him 3 pages in the OCD index. The diocesan service record lists Wiebler as retiring on 11/20/91, but he is not listed as retired until the 2002 OCD.
1992 1993 St. Patrick's

Tampa FL On Duty Outside the Diocese.
Priests of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis (T.O.R) staffed this parish in the St. Petersburg diocese (Bishop John C. Favalora). Clergy: Revs. Venard Moffitt, Colman McGarrill, Dennis Gang; Deacon John M. Edgerton, admin.
The parish school had 376 students in 1992-93. The St. Patrick's rectory (4212 Fair Oaks Ave., Tampa FL 33611 is listed as Wiebler's address in the Davenport pages of the 1993 Official Catholic Directory, where his status is "On Duty Outside the Diocese." But he is not listed in the Tampa diocesan pages as being one of the parish priests.
1993 1995 Address: 2415 Sturdevant St. Davenport IA   On Duty Outside the Diocese. Wiebler is still listed as Weibler.
1995 2000 Address: 750 Burlington Ave., Apt. 3F 33701 St. Petersburg Beach FL   On Duty Outside the Diocese. Wiebler is still listed as Weibler.
2000 2001         Not listed in the 2001 OCD.
2001 2002 Address: 750 Burlington Ave., Apt. 3F 33701 St. Petersburg Beach FL   Retired, now listed as Wiebler again.
2002 2003 Address: St. Vincent Center       In a May 2002 meeting with Bishop Franklin and Chancellor Loftus, Wiebler reportedly admitted to abusing at least 12 boys, not "several."

Source: Bishop William E. Franklin, "A Historical Accounting of Clergy Sexual Abuse of Minors and Action Taken Regarding Certain Priests" (Davenport, Iowa: Diocese of Davenport, February 25, 2004). Supplemented and corrected from the Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy and Sons, 1949-2003).

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 are two priests in toto 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 Wiebler's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and other sources with the known allegations. Only a few of the 12 allegations that Wiebler reportedly admitted to can be identified from the public record. It is not known where or when the other admitted offenses took place. This assignment record is likely not a complete list of the allegations against Wiebler. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and 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 10/28/04.