Assignment Record– Rev. Louis "Louie" Wayne Ladenburger, O.F.M.

Summary of Case: Louis Wayne Ladenburger was ordained a Franciscan priest of the Province of Santa Barbara CA in 1963. He worked in parishes, high schools and retreat centers in dioceses including Stockton, Oakland and Sacramento CA, Phoenix AZ, Portland OR, El Paso TX (in NM), Spokane and Seattle WA, and Reno-Las Vegas NV. He earned a doctorate degree in divinity from the University of California at Berkeley and became a licensed marriage and family as well as chemical dependency therapist. Ladenburger was treated twice in the 1980s for what the Franciscans called "inappropriate professional behavior and relationships." He was was allowed both times to return to ministry. In 1993 his order restricted Ladenburger's ministry after they had him undergo another psychological evaluation due to "heightened concern and new awareness of abuse issues." Ladenburger refused the restrictions and went on leave of absence. He asked for a dispensation of his vows and was laicized by the Vatican in March 1996. He was hired as a therapist in September 2006 by an Idaho school for high-risk teenage boys. In May 2007 he was fired after two boys accused him of sexual abuse, including fondling and oral sex. He admitted to abusing one of the boys. He was arrested in June and charged with three counts of sexual battery of a minor between the ages of 16 and 17. In a plea agreement in November 2007 Landenburger pleaded guilty to to one count of felony sexual misconduct. He was sentenced to up to 5 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 6 months.

Ordained: 1963
Laicized: 1996



Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes






Ladenburger is not indexed in the 1964 Directory.


Stockton bishop was Hugh Aloysius Donohue (1962-1969).

1965 St. Mary of the Assumption Stockton CA


pastoral course

St. Mary's had a school with 210 boys and 181 girls, and a CCD program.
1964 1965 St. Benedict the Moor Center Stockton CA   This was a mission of St. Mary of the Assumption.


Oakland diocese

    Berkeley CA   Ladenburger earned a Doctor of Divinity from UC Berkeley, and served the Oakland diocese, per news reports. Timeframe unclear.

May 1965

Tucson bishop was Francis Joseph Green (1960-1981).

April 1967 St. Mary's High School Phoenix CA teacher St. Mary's High had 611-650 students.


Portland in Oregon archbishop was Robert Joseph Dwyer (1966-1974).

1968 Salem Catholic High School Salem OR   Salem Catholic had 235 boys and 122 girls.


El Paso bishop was SIdney Matthew Metzger (1942-1978).

1971 Holy Cross Retreat House Mesella Park NM 3/4 This was a retreat house of the Franciscan Fathers of the Province of Santa Barbara.
1971 1972         Ladenburger is not indexed in the 1972 Directory, nor is he listed in the diocesan pages as at his previous or next assignments.


Merlin Joseph Guilfoyle succeeded Donohue as Stockton bishop (1969-1979).

1974 St. Mary of the Assumption Stockton CA 1/7, 2/9 St. Mary's had a CCD program.
1972 1974 St. Benedict the Moor Center Stockton CA   This was a mission of St. Mary of the Assumption.
1974 1975         Ladenburger is indexed in the 1975 Directory as at his previous assignment, but he is not listed as there in the Stockton diocesan pages, nor is he listed as at his next assignment.


Spokane bishop was Bernard Joseph Topel (1955-1978) followed by Lawrence Harold Welsh (1978-1990).

1979 Mary Queen of Heaven Sprague WA 1/1  
1979 1980        

Ladenburger is not indexed in the 1980 Directory, or listed in the diocesan pages at his previous or next assignments.

Ladenburger was treated twice in the 1980s for "inappropriate professional behavior and relationships."


Seattle archbishop was Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen (1975-1991).

1984 St. George's Seattle WA 1/3, 1/2 St. George's had a school with 247-204 students.


Sacramento bishop was Francis Anthony Quinn (1979-1993).

1985 St. Francis of Assisi Sacramento CA 3/3 St. Francis' had a school with 204 students.


Reno-Las Vegas bishop was Norman Francis McFarland (1976-1986), who was replaced by Daniel Francis Walsh (1987-1995).

1988 St. John's Overton NV 1/1, 2/2  
1988 1989 Christ the King Reno NV 3/3  
1989 1990         Ladenburger is not indexed in the 1990 Directory; previous parish not listed in Reno-Las Vegas diocesan pages; not listed as at next assignment.

July 1990

Phoenix bishop was Thomas Joseph O'Brien (1981-2003).

May 1992 Franciscan Renewal Center Scottsdale AZ

6/6, 5/5

retreat ministry

Ladenburger is not indexed beyond the 1992 Directory.
Fall 1992 June 1993 St. Mary's Basilica Phoenix AZ in residence  
Fall 1992 June 1993 St. Joan of Arc Phoenix AZ assisted  
  1993 St. Mary's High School Phoenix AZ  

This assignment is per news reports.

The Franciscans had Ladenburger undergo a new psychological evaluation in 1993, due to "heightened concern and new awareness of abuse issues." When told afterward that his ministry would be restricted, Ladenburger refused and went on leave of absence.

He was laicized in March 1996.

September 2006 May 2007 Elk Mountain Academy

Clark Fork

Ladenburger was accused in May 2007 of sexually abusing two Elk Mountain students, ages 16 and 17. The abuse was said to have included fondling and oral sex and occurred between February and April 2007. He admitted to abusing one of the students.

ID therapist Elk Mountain Academy is a high school for at-risk teenage boys. The school fired him upon receiving the allegations and called Child Protective Services and law enforcement. Ladenburg was arrested in June 2007 and charged with three counts of sexual battery of a minor between the ages of 16 and 17. He pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to one count of felony sexual misconduct, and was sentenced in March 2008 to up to 5 years in prison.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1965-1992)

Former School Counselor Facing Three Sexual Battery Charges, By Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Daily Bee, June 1, 2007
Elk Mountain Academy Owner Speaks Out, School's Therapist Charged With Sexual Abuse, By R.J. Cohn, Bonner News,
June 1, 2007
Church: Ladenburger Had History of Abuse, Was Asked to Leave Ministry, KXLY, June 1, 2007
Therapist Charged in Sexual Abuse Case , 70-year-old Accused of Molesting 2 Students, By Taryn Brodwater , Spokesman Review, June 1, 2007
Therapist Faced Scrutiny As Priest, Jailed counselor left Franciscans, By Taryn Brodwater , Spokesman Review, June 5, 2007
Community Notification Statement from the Diocese of Phoenix on Louis Ladenburger, Diocese of Phoenix,
June, 2007
Former Priest, Arrested for Sexual Battery, Confesses He's a Sex Addict, KXLY [ Washington], May 31, 2007
Non-Monetary Undertakings of the Spokane Diocese, Diocese of Spokane , November 21, 2007
Counselor Sentenced for Sexual Misconduct, KXLY, March 25, 2008
Accused Clerics, Contra Costa Times, April 1, 2008
Public Nuisance Complaint, By Nick Welsh, Santa Barbara Independent, August 15, 2008
A Safe Environment for Children & Youth, Catholic Diocese of Spokane, November 3, 2009
Ernesto C. v. Franciscans, Cause No. 1337577, Santa Barbara Co. Superior Court, October 5, 2009
Clover v. Franciscans, Cause No. 1338070, Santa Barbara Co. Superior Court, November 3, 2009
Diocese of Phoenix's List of Those Accused of Sexual Abuse, By Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic, June 15, 2011
Community Notification Statements, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, October 15, 2012


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Ladenburger's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on September 13, 2015.

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