In 1995 Richard Westcott Weaverling (known as Wes) pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated sexual battery against a six year old girl he babysat at Bruton Parish Episcopal Church in Williamsburg in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia. He was released on parole after receiving a suspended sentence in the case of a two year old boy who was unable to testify. During court-ordered treatment, Weaverling admitted abusing 14 other children at the Bruton Parish nursery and in his home with his mother (another Bruton Parish nursery employee) Hortense Weaverling present. His parole was revoked and he was tried again on additional charges. Weaverling was identified in a 1995 psychiatric report as “troubled, remorseless, and dangerous, fixated on pedophilia, sexual sadism and bestiality over a period of the past eight years” during which he worked at Bruton Parish. He was also evaluated as “very likely to relapse,” and refusing to give “any intention of discontinuing his sexual activities.” Weaverling received a 73-year prison sentence in serial criminal cases. Weaverling is scheduled for release on July 2, 2049.
In all, 35 plaintiffs including parents, parishioners, and children also sued Weaverling, his mother, and four groups of 27 defendants civilly over dozens of sex crimes in the historic church’s nursery, including Bruton Parish and its clergy and trustees, the Church Insurance Company, the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and its bishop individually, a retired bishop, chancellors and trustees of the diocese as individuals, and church attorneys. The church defendants claimed they had no way of knowing that Weaverling would abuse as many as 15 infants and children in the care of Bruton Parish. Plaintiffs sought $17 million in damages, alleging “church officials conspired to hide the molestations on the advice of the church’s insurance company to prevent bad publicity and liability.” They also rejected the Bruton Parish claim in 1995 that “only two small families” had been victimized in the crimes. A later 1998 lawsuit alleged that Bruton Parish associate rector Michael W. Jones had “an intimate sexual relationship” with Weaver before he was hired as a babysitter at the church.