Ex-priest gets life for sex with boy


Ex-priest gets life for sex with boy

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 5:45 p.m.

SARASOTA – A Catholic priest was sentenced to life in prison Thursday for repeatedly having sex with a teenage boy.

William C. Wert, now 56, had recurring sexual interactions with a 14-year-old Nokomis boy after the man found him on a chat website for teenagers. The messages turned explicit, later becoming key pieces of evidence for the prosecution.

“I think the sentence is appropriate considering the predatory behavior,” said Assistant State Attorney Dawn Buff, who prosecuted the case before Circuit Court Judge Frederick Mercurio.

In March, a jury found him guilty on eight counts of sexual offenses against a child; two other counts were dropped and the jury found him not guilty on one count. Wert has been in jail without bail since his arrest in February 2011.

Wert lived in a Carmelite Catholic Order property in Venice, and although his affiliation with the church was kept from jurors, the judge was aware during sentencing.

Buff said she thought the family of the victim was relieved to see the case resolved, although perhaps more angry at the church than Wert. The family of the victim sued the Order of the Carmelites, claiming the Catholic order was aware of Wert’s past conviction for approaching and touching a 14-year-old boy on the inner thigh. The church still allowed him to move from Washington, D.C., to the Carmelites’ home in Venice.

The church agreed to pay the family $1.75 million before the case went to trial.

During the sentencing hearing, Buff reminded the judge of Wert’s past conviction, saying that although the church removed him from having contact with children at the church, he used a computer to continue looking for sex with minors.

“He went on a website for gay teens,” Buff said. “He went trolling specifically to look for a teen.”

In the trial, prosecutors and detectives described how Wert and the teenager met in an online chat room designed for teenagers, with Wert initially lying about his age. They exchanged phone numbers, which led to sexual encounters at various locations — including Wert’s Venice home, a vacant house, a wooded area and a motel room — from September 2010 to January 2011.

Much of the prosecution relied on testimony from the victim, corroborated by cellular text messages, Facebook messages and text conversations retrieved from Skype, the online video chat service.

The Diocese of Venice has previously said Wert is not affiliated with the diocese and did not perform public ministry.

About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on May 22, 2013, in Bill Donohue, Catholic League, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Diocese of Venice, Father William Wert, Order of the Carmelites, Pope Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse, Uncategorized, Vatican, William A Donohue and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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