Former Ballwin Priest Investigated for Misconduct

By Chase Castle
The Patch
July 1, 2011

A priest who used to work with Holy Infant Church in Ballwin is being investigated by the Ballwin Police Department following at least one formal complaint from a female with ties to the former parish member.

A report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said Fr. William Vatterott was put on administrative leave by the Archdiocese of St. Louis following allegations that he had "inappropriate electronic exchanges and other questionable behavior with teenagers," the report said.

Monsignor Richard Hanneke released a prepared statement to select news outlets announcing Vatterott's leave Friday, four days after learning of the complaints on Monday, according to the news report.

Vatterott was ordained as a priest in 2003 and served at Holy Infant before transferring to St. Cecilia Parish in St. Louis in December of 2007. In preparation for his work at the largely Hispanic St. Louis parish, Vatterott spent five months studying Spanish in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Sgt. Jim Heldmann of the Ballwin Police Department said investigators will proceed with a combination of interviews to confirm statements and evidence gathering.

"They're based on complaints that were made, but we're not even sure that a crime has been committed."

Heldmann could not provide details behind the complaints, but reiterated that Ballwin police would not head the investigation if the alleged criminal activity didn't take place in their jurisdiction.

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