Priest: Sex Didn't Hurt Church Work

By Glen Creno
Phoenix Gazette
June 22, 1993

The Rev. Alanson Wilputte "Lan" Sherwood says he was a good priest even though he led a secret life of hundreds of sexual conquests that he carefully recorded in print and on videotape.

Sherwood's secret became public when he was arrested in March. A 17-year-old hitchhiker told police the Roman Catholic priest showed him a pornographic movie and invited him to have sex.

Sherwood apparently made little effort to deny his sexual history. Police on Monday released copies of a videotaped interview of Sherwood by a Chandler detective made the day of Sherwood's arrest.

Sherwood, 48, told Detective Jim Tollefson he hadn't confessed to any sexual escapades since he was a sophomore in high school. Tollefson then listened as Sherwood confessed everything, often stopping to ask himself why he was saying so much.

Sherwood said he had an uncontrollable craving for sex with men he picked up hitchhiking. He said he did it because it was easy, even though some of his partners returned to burglarize his home, and one pulled a gun and forced Sherwood to drive him to southern Arizona.

Sherwood was a priest through all of it, most recently at St. Benedict Catholic Church in Chandler. He told the detective that sometimes he had sex just "to get another number" (to add to his list of conquests). He also believed he was a good priest.

"I didn't let either of these two worlds -- my secret sex life or my life as a priest -- overflow, one into the other," Sherwood said. "The people I brought home or the people I had sex with at other places, whatever it might have been, were people who had absolutely no connection to my life as a priest."

The tape of Sherwood was released under a freedom of information request filed by news organizations. Sherwood and his attorney tried to persuade the courts to keep it confidential.

Sherwood said he logged more than 1,800 sexual encounters since 1984, although he began picking up hitchhikers for sex in 1982. He said most of the men were heterosexual, he paid some of them, and he videotaped about 1,200 sex acts.

"I like statistics," he said. "I like to look back on it."

Sherwood denied that he was a pedophile although he admitted he had sex with some minors. Sherwood has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual misconduct and faces five to 15 years in prison.

Sherwood had faced an eight-count indictment. Lt. John Summers, a police spokesman, said investigators couldn't find the people named in Sherwood's sex logs because he used only first names.

Sherwood told the detective he thought he had been abused by a homosexual father or his father's friends. That, Sherwood said, was the reason he picked up strangers and avoided long-term relationships.

The average hitchhiker, Sherwood said, is "a bum," not well-educated.


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