St. Louis Public Radio News
9:26 am
Tue April 8, 2003

Vatican Now Investigating S. Illinois Priest

Belleville, Ill. – The Vatican is now investigating a decades-old sex abuse case in the Belleville Diocese.

The 6-month-old case against the Reverend William Rensing was transferred last month. Reverend James Margason, the vicar general of the Diocese of Belleville, said the Vatican told the diocese they had received letters questioning how the investigation was being handled.

Rensing was placed on administrative leave from his duties at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish after allegations involving his conduct with a minor male surfaced late last year.

The diocese said the incident allegedly occurred in Fairview Heights in 1970.

Some believe it's the first time the Vatican has intervened in a local investigation of sexual abuse by a priest in the U.S.