CA- Encino priest sentenced to life in prison for abuse

A convicted predator priest who worked in Encino will spend the rest of his life behind bars. On Thursday, he was convicted of abuse - for a second time - and was sentenced to life in prison.

He’s Fr. William C. Wert, who twice worked at Crespi Carmelite High School, a college prep school for boys in Encino (in 1987 and from 1993 to 1999).

In 2007, he was convicted 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, Florida when he was arrested on the more recent abuse charge.

Catholic officials in California, Florida, Illinois and DC have a duty. As “shepherds,” they have an obligation to seek out wounded members of their flock, in this case, kids who were raped, sodomized or otherwise assaulted by Fr. Wert. They can’t profess to want to do “better” in abuse cases while sitting idly by when they know of a proven serial predator.

But they will likely now do essentially nothing. They might, in a small story 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 pain.

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


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