From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Retired priest accused of sexual abuse; removed from ministry

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Dec. 5, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)


A seventh priest who has served in the Spokane Diocese has been removed from ministry.

The priest, Dan Wetzler, has been temporarily removed from ministry pending an investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor. Wetzler has been removed from ministry pending an investigation of these accusations.

The Diocesan Review Board has asked for an investigation of the accusations against Wetzler.

Bishop Skylstad took this action after conversations with both the accuser and Wetzler. Wetzler denies the charges.

The Diocesan Review Board’s final determination will be referred to Bishop Skylstad and, in keeping with the bishop’s commitment to openness, the results of that determination will be made public. In accordance with the diocese’s policy regarding sexual abuse allegations, the case has been reported to the police.

Wetzler, 64, retired from active ministry last July.

He was ordained to the priesthood May 25, 1963.

He was an assistant pastor at Holy Ghost and St. Anthony, St. Ann, and St. Thomas More parishes in Spokane before being assigned as a teacher at Mater Cleri Seminary, then the diocese’s high school seminary in Colbert, Wash. The seminary has since closed.

He also served as the diocesan director of the Catholic Youth Organization and was chaplain of students, as well as head of the religion department, at Marycliff High School, an all-girls school in Spokane which also has since closed.

He served as pastor of the parishes in Tekoa, Rockford, Othello, Eltopia, and Connell, before being assigned to his last parish, St. Paschal in Spokane, in 1992.

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