Fr. Walter M. Weerts: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

Fr. Walter M. Weerts

Ordained: 1960

  • 1961: Unknown
  • 1979: St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church, St. Marie, IL (SFD)
  • 1962-1963: St. Ambrose Dr., R.R.S., Godfrey, IL (SFD)
  • 1980: St. Boniface’s Church, Edwardsville, IL (SFD)
  • 1964-1967: Sacred Heart, Granite City, IL (SFD)
  • 1981-1985: St. Brigid’s Church, Liberty, IL (SFD)
  • 1968-1972: St. Thomas Apostle, Decatur, IL (SFD)
  • 1986-1988: Absent on Leave (SFD)
  • 1973-1978: St. Michael’s Church, Hume, IL (SFD)
  • 1989-2019: Unknown

In 1986, Fr. Walter Weerts pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three boys ranging from 13 to 16 years old. A 225-page report prepared for sentencing stated Fr. Weerts had sexually abused boys for at least 18 years. According to the prosecuting attorney, “There [was] a clear indication (Weerts) was removed from one or more parishes because of relationships with boys.” Fr. Weerts was sentenced to six years in prison. During his stay in prison or shortly after, Fr. Weerts was laicized. Approximately 12 years after he pleaded guilty, Fr. Weerts was found working as a teacher at Palm Beach Community College when officials discovered he had lied on his job application about being a convicted child abuser. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into Fr. Weerts after receiving a complaint that an eight-year-old boy was living with him as an “adopted grandchild.” In total, the Diocese of Springfield has paid settlements to at least eight survivors who allege they were sexually abused by Fr. Weerts. In 2018, Fr. was included on the Diocese of Springfield’s list of clergy with substantiated cases of sexual abuse of a minor. Fr. Weerts’ current whereabouts and whether he has access to children are unknown