Breaking: Pope Defrocks Former Waterloo Priest

By Pat Kinney
Courier [Waterloo IA]
January 6, 2006

WATERLOO --- A Roman Catholic priest accused in civil suits of sexually abusing boys in Waterloo in the 1960s and '70s has been dismissed from the priesthood by Pope Benedict XVI.

Dubuque Archbishop Jerome Hanus announced Thursday the pope's dismissal of the Rev. William Schwartz.

Schwartz has been named in three civil suits in state and federal courts filed in 2005 against himself and the Dubuque archdiocese, alleging he abused boys while serving as associate pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Waterloo in the 1960s, and during the 1970s while he was spiritual director at Columbus High School.

The archdiocese and Schwartz each have denied the allegations in court and say the claims are barred from adjudication by the statute of limitations. The archdiocese removed Schwartz from regular priestly duties in the early 1990s and he was directed not represent himself in public as a priest. Those cases are still pending.

Another suit, filed against Schwartz and the archdiocese in 2004 in Linn County District Court concerning an alleged incident in Cedar Rapids in the early 1980s, was settled out of court in 2005.

The pope took the action based on a church investigation submitted to the Vatican, and Schwartz was relieved of priestly duties in accordance with Catholic canon law, Hanus said. Schwartz was notified of the action in November and the process was completed in December.

Hanus announced the action regarding Schwartz in an annual status report to Northeast Iowa Catholics on the implementation of an archdiocesan policy for the protection of minors. The report identifies more than 20 other archdiocesan priests accused over the past year of sexual abuse or misconduct from the 1930s through the 1990s. Most of those priests are deceased; none are currently practicing as priests.

Schwartz, 73, ordained in 1958, also served in parishes and parochial schools in Ryan, Raymond, Gilbertville, Marshalltown, Mason City, Dubuque, Rockwell and Clarion. He retired in 1993, when he was directed not to represent himself in public as a priest, and to seek counseling at a facility in Arizona, where he now resides.

Schwartz has referred inquiries regarding the suits to his attorney, Robert Day of Dubuque, who was unavailable for comment Thursday.


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