In 1993, the Vatican ordered Wuerl to reinstate an accused child molester who had not been convicted of a crime, but whom Wuerl believed was guilty.
Wuerl refused to reinstate the priest and asked Vatican officials to reverse their rejection of the priest's laicization (defrocking). The Vatican eventually rescinded the order challenging Wuerl's decision.
In June 2002, Wuerl released a pastoral letter that included the following statement:
I want to talk to you a little bit about our [clergy abuse] policy. I believe it is excellent policy. It grew out of a terrible experience we had a decade ago and we learned from dealing with allegations, that later were substantiated, that young people had, in fact, been abused. I met with those young people. I met with their families and out of that we came to learn the intensity of the pain, the intensity of the disruption of the spiritual life of that family and of the harm done to everyone involved. So we have implemented that policy and we have applied it over all these years in a good, effective manner.