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Notice regarding Fr. William Erbacher

The Diocese of Arlington has received notice from the Diocese of Alexandria (Louisiana) that Father William Erbacher, a priest who previously served in active ministry in the Diocese of Arlington, has been accused of the sexual abuse of a minor in 1974. Father Erbacher denies the allegations. The incident is alleged to have occurred in Louisiana when Father Erbacher was a member of the Brothers of the Holy Eucharist religious community. He was not ordained a priest until 1987.

The Diocese of Arlington had no knowledge of this accusation at the time he was admitted to the seminary or ordained a priest. Father Erbacher was removed from active ministry in 2001.  After appropriate due process according to canon (church) law, the Holy See in 2010 imposed on Father Erbacher “a life of prayer and penance” as a result his being found guilty of the sexual abuse of a minor. Since that time, Father Erbacher has not been permitted to celebrate Mass publicly, to administer the sacraments, to wear clerical attire or to present himself publicly as a priest. This penalty is in accord with the Essential Norms of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The Diocese of Arlington encourages anyone who knows of any misconduct or abuse on the part of any cleric or employee of the diocese to report it to the Virginia Attorney General hotline (VirginiaClergyHotline.com), and also to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 703/841-2530. The diocesan child protection policy is online at arlingtondiocese.org.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019