Diocese: Investigator Can't Verify Allegation against Priest
June 15, 2013
GREEN BAY — An independent investigator could not verify an allegation that the Rev. Justin N. Werner abused a child at St. Edward Parish in Mackville during the 1970s, according to a statement Saturday from the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay.
Because the allegation could not be substantiated, Bishop David L. Ricken has lifted the temporary restrictions that prevented Werner from performing public ministry.
The investigation into the alleged abuse from the 1970s will continue, but Justine Lodl, director of communications for the diocese, said the investigation no longer will involve Werner.
“There is an allegation, so we need to continue to investigate because the perpetrator hasn’t been found,” Lodl told Post-Crescent Media. “They haven’t been named.”
In April the diocese acknowledged it had received an allegation of abuse of a minor against Werner, a retired priest, and that he was restricted from public ministry pending the outcome of an investigation.
“We regret the pain and suffering that Father Werner and all those involved had to experience during this investigation,” the diocese said Saturday. “We ask for prayers for all victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse, the person who brought forth the allegation and for Father Werner.”
Post-Crescent Media reported in April that Werner stepped down as a priest in 2010. According to a farewell letter from Werner to the St. Bernard Parish in Appleton, he served as a priest for at least 50 years, including as a weekend assistant at the Appleton parish.