Green Bay Diocese's investigation clears priest of abuse

Allegations dated to 1970s

The Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin/June 15, 2013

An investigation into alleged abuse by Father Justin Werner, a retired priest, has concluded the accusation was unsubstantiated, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay announced Saturday.

Werner was accused in April of abusing a minor in the 1970s at St. Edward Parish in Mackville, just north of Appleton. Werner denied the allegation.

According to Saturday's statement from the diocese:

An independent professional investigator concluded the allegation was unsubstantiated and restrictions on Werner's ministry have been lifted by Bishop David Ricken.

Werner had been temporarily restricted from performing any public ministry pending the outcome of the investigation.

"We regret the pain and suffering that Father Werner and all those involved had to experience during this investigation," the statement from the diocese reads. "We ask for prayers for all victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse, the person who brought forth the allegation and for Father Werner."

Werner is in his 80s and has served more than 50 years as a priest, according to a letter from Werner to members of St. Bernard Parish in Appleton, where he served as an assistant in recent years.

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