Catholic Priest

Anthony G. Herdegen

Ordained: 1946

In 2003, two brothers filed suit alleging they had been sexually abused by Monsignor Anthony G. Herdegen for years in the 1960s and 1970s at St. John’s Church in Wasco, California.  The case was initially investigated by the Kern County Sherriff’s Department in 1985 but, because the criminal statute of limitations had already lapsed, the matter was never pursued.  The Fresno Diocese denied any knowledge of unlawful sexual conduct by Herdegen and the lawsuit was initially dismissed.  But Cardinal Roger Mahoney provided deposition testimony indicated the diocese either knew or should have known what was occurring at the time.  Relying on this new revelation, the California Court of Appeals reversed dismissal and ordered the case to trial.  The jury eventually found the evidence insufficient to justify imputing knowledge of Herdegen’s sexual abuse to diocese officials.  However, a new trial was ordered for the younger brother after new evidence was discovered that the diocese knew the older brother was being abused beforehand.  

Herdegen was ordained as a priest in 1946 and assigned to churches in Bakersfield, Fresno, Watsonville, Kerman, Santa Margarita, Hilmar, Corcoran, Porterville, Taft and Lake Isabella before retiring in 1995.  According to the Fresno Diocese, Herdegen remains a priest in good standing despite molesting the boys and is officially retired in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.