Fr. Siegfried Francis Widera

Fr. Siegfried Francis Widera

Ordination: 1967

Notes: After only five years in the priesthood, Fr. Widera was convicted in 1973 of sexual abuse and was sentenced to three years’ probation. He had admitted to sexually abusing an 11 year-old boy and several other boys. Fr. Widera was allowed to continue working and was reassigned to St. Andrew’s in Delavan, Wisconsin. The parishioners of St. Andrew’s were not informed about Fr. Widera’s conviction or history of sexual abuse. In June 1976, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was informed by a therapist that a boy under his treatment disclosed that he had been sexually abused by Fr. Widera. Following this revelation, Fr. Widera was kept in the parish for at least six weeks while he was still on probation, but after his probation ended, Fr. Widera was moved to the Diocese of Orange. He was later accused of sexually abusing multiple young boys at St. Pius V in Buena Park, St. Justin Martyr in Anaheim, and St. Martin de Porres in Yorba Linda shortly after his move to California. In 1985, after he was accused of sexual abuse in Orange County, Fr. Widera was barred from priestly duties and sent to Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, for treatment. He never finished the treatment and went on to become a businessman in Tucson, Arizona. It wasn’t until 2002, when the church’s national sex abuse scandal was brought to light, that more victims came forward and Fr. Widera was charged with 33 felony counts of sexual abuse in California and nine counts in Wisconsin. After being indicted, Fr. Widera fled to Mexico, where a manhunt ensued, and upon having his hotel surrounded by law enforcement, Fr. Widera jumped off a balcony. Fr. Widera was included in a press release issued by the Diocese of Orange in 2004 as a priest accused and removed from ministry. In 2006, three more men came forward alleging Fr. Widera had sexually abused them while at St. Andrew’s in Delavan, Wisconsin. In total, at least 10 victims have settled civil suits with either the Archdiocese of Milwuakee and/or Diocese of Orange. After Fr. Widera’s personal file was released, it was discovered that the Diocese of Orange was aware of his history of sexual abuse but chose to accept him into the Diocese nonetheless.

Assignments:

1968 St. Mary De Nepomuc’s, West Allis, WI

1969-1972 St. Mary, Help of Christians (Slovene), Port Washington, WI

1973 St. Mary’s, Port Washington, WI

1974-1976 St. Andrew’s, Delavan, WI

1977-1981 Other assignments/St. Justin Martyr, Anaheim, CA

1982-1984 St. Edward Church, Dana Point, CA

1985 Immaculate Heart of Mary, Santa Ana, CA

1986 Sick Leave

1987-2001 Inactive Leave

2002 Unknown

2003 Died

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