Ex-priest Failed to Register As Sex Offender, Marshals Say


November 17, 2008

PHOENIX - U.S. Marshals arrested the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department's "Most Wanted Sex Offender" on Sunday.

Wilputte Alanson Sherwood, 63, was leaving a San Francisco church when marshals arrested him on suspicion of failing to register as a sex offender.

Sherwood, a former Catholic priest, was originally convicted in 1993 on charges of sexual conduct with a minor, attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and dangerous crimes against children in Maricopa County. He served 10 years in prison and was released and placed on lifetime probation in 2003.

Sherwood was also required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

According to U.S. Marshals, Sherwood left Phoenix in 2005 and was not heard from again until Sunday.

Sherwood is in a California jail, awaiting extradition proceedings for his return to Arizona. Federal charges for failing to register as a sex offender are also pending.

Marshals said prior to his conviction in 1992, Sherwood targeted more than 3,600 individuals -- mainly hitchhikers and runaways -- for sex over a period of 12 years in five different parishes. Authorities estimated Sherwood had more than 1,800 sexual affairs.

In March 2008, the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department named Sherwood its "Most Wanted Sex Offender.


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