Fr. Alfred Willis – Diocese of Burlington

Father Alfred Willis 

Diocese of Burlington

Ordained: 1976

Removed: 1980

Laicized: 1985

Assigned as follows:

  • 1976-1979 St. Augustine (Montpelier, VT)
  • 1979-1980 St. Ann (Milton, VT)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Alfred Willis:

Father Alfred Willis served in Vermont for approximately 5 years. According to media reports, in early 1978, St. Anthony parishioners reported to Bishop John Marshall that Father Willis was sexually abusing boys while at St. Anthony’s in Burlington, and continued to see some of the boys while serving at St. Augustine’s in Montpelier. 

Bishop Marshall ordered Father Willis to get counseling and visit with the parents of the children he molested. In 1979, he assigned Father Willis to St. Ann’s in Milton, but did not disclose about Father Willis’ past conduct and allegations of abuse.

In 1980, several St. Ann’s parishioners alleged that Father Willis had molested their sons. They reported that they had learned that he also molested boys while at St. Anthony’s in Burlington. Father Willis was placed on leave, and sent to Paracletes in New Mexico for treatment. The parents also told the Chittenden County State’s Attorney, who launched an investigation, but never prosecuted the priest. 

Father Willis was laicized in August 1985. 

From 2003 through 2019, at least seven civil lawsuits were filed, claiming child sexual abuse by Father Willis.

As part of one agreement in 2004, the diocese acknowledged it knew Father Willis had faced sexual misconduct charges as early as seminary. Despite this, it repeatedly transferred him without telling parishioners of his problematic history, even when it asked the Vatican to defrock him after determining he was guilty of child abuse.

In August 2019, his name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Burlington’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. He is believed to be living in Virginia. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Burlington.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Burlington, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Burlington now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.