DC priest sentenced to life in prison for abuse
A convicted predator priest - who was convicted of molesting a Washington DC area child six years ago has molested again and will now spend the rest of his life in prison.
Fr. William C. Wert was sentenced on last Thursday in Florida for molesting a boy for five months in the Venice diocese.
Wert, a convicted predator priest who headed a Joliet, IL Catholic school in the 1990s, moved to the DC area and was convicted again in 2007 of molesting a Washington DC area child but served only 15 days in jail. In 2011, he was living at a Catholic retirement home in Venice when he was arrested on the more recent abuse charge.
If history is any guide, Catholic officials in DC, Florida and Illinois will now do virtually nothing. They might, in a tiny article in a church newsletter, announce Fr. Wert’s sentence. But they won’t use their tremendous resources – church websites, parish bulletins, and pulpit announcements – to try to find others who were assaulted by Fr. Wert and who are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.
Imagine how reassuring it would be to Catholics if Cardinal Donald Wuerl would visit every parish or Catholic institutions where Wert was in the DC area, begging victims to step forward and start healing. That’s what a real pastor would do. But Wuerl will sit comfortably in his lush office and stay silent.
Wuerl surely remembers just a few short years ago when the pope told bishops to “do everything possible” to help abuse victims heal. But he will ignore than admonition.
We hope we’re wrong. We Catholic officials will aggressively seek out others who may have been hurt by Fr. Wert.
A photo of Fr. Wert is available at BishopAccountability.org
For more information, please see:
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.