Diocese Says Admitted Sex Abuser Is Not Receiving Any Monetary Aid

By Todd Ruger
Quad-City Times
September 21, 2004,1035682

A priest who has admitted sexually abusing boys does not receive a paycheck or any financial assistance from the Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Bishop William Franklin said Tuesday.

Franklin was responding to a letter from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, which asked him to immediately stop any and all financial assistance to the Rev. William Wiebler, 72, until Wiebler is in a secure treatment center run by professionals.

Wiebler, who left the Quad-City area in 1985, was sent by the diocese two years ago to the St. John Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Mo., south of St. Louis, after he admitted to the abuse.

But he has since left that center and is living in an apartment in University City, about 750 feet from Delmar-Harvard Elementary School and about 1,500 feet from Julia Goldstein Preschool, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper reported last week.

“The diocese cannot legally interfere with any retirement benefits he may otherwise receive,” Franklin stated in the letter.

“The diocese would be happy to review any other ideas about how to deal with William Wiebler, but at present, the application the diocese made to the Vatican to laicize him is the full extent of our ability to punish him,” he wrote, referring to efforts to have the priest defrocked.

David Clohessy, SNAP’s executive director, said Franklin should do everything to make Wiebler’s life miserable until the priest is back in a treatment center, including asking parishioners to come forward with any sexual abuse allegations that may result in a criminal conviction.

“You do not have the luxury of claiming ‘it is beyond our power’ when it comes to the safety of children,” he wrote to Franklin on Monday. “Surely you know that bishops have recruited, educated, hired, paid, supervised and often covered up for molesters like Father Wiebler.”

Wiebler was a priest at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf until 1985, when he moved to Mississippi, where he served until his retirement in 1991.

No criminal charges have been filed against Wiebler because the allegations against him are beyond the legal statute of limitations.

Todd Ruger can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or


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