Fugitive Sex Offender, Former Priest Arrested in California

The Arizona Republic

November 17, 2008

Department of Justice U.S. Marshals

PHOENIX - The following is a press release from the Department of Justice U.S. Marshals:

Late yesterday morning Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from the Phoenix based Child Predator Apprehension Team in addition to the Northern California Fugitive Task Force arrested fugitive sex offender and former Catholic Priest Wilputte Alanson Sherwood, 63, as he was leaving the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco, California.

Wilputte Sherwood was originally convicted in 1993 of Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and Dangerous Crimes against Children in Maricopa County. It was alleged that Sherwood kept extensive logs and video tapes of many of his sexual encounters with numerous underage boys. Sherwood subsequently served 10 years in an Arizona prison and was released in 2003. It has been reported Sherwood targeted over 3600 individuals for sexual interludes spanning 12 years and five different parishes. It is estimated Sherwood had over 1800 sexual affairs resulting from Sherwood roaming the streets of Phoenix targeting hitchhikers and runaways. Upon his release Sherwood was placed on lifetime probation and was required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. In 2005, Sherwood absconded from probation and fled the Phoenix area not be heard from again until yesterday. In March 2008, Sherwood was named as the Most Wanted Sex Offender by the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department.

Recently Deputy U.S. Marshals and Task Force Officers from both Phoenix, AZ and San Francisco, CA conducted a joint fugitive investigation which developed information that Sherwood was residing in the Castro District in San Francisco. Yesterday morning Deputies and Task Force Officers established surveillance on Sherwood and followed him to a local San Francisco church where he was positively identified. After the service, Sherwood was arrested without incident. Sherwood was booked into a California jail, where he awaits extradition proceedings for his return to Arizona. Sherwood is also pending federal charges for failing to register as a sex offender.

United States Marshal David Gonzales praised the work of Deputies and law enforcement officers adding, “The U.S. Marshals, along with our state and local partners, will spare no expense in going after predators like Wilputte Sherwood. We are committed to making sure those who are required to register as sex offenders are held accountable for their failure to do so.”


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