Assignment History– Rev. William Authenrieth

Summary of Case: William Authenrieth was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1962. He was an associate priest at St. Vincent Ferrer until 1973, when he moved to the Diocese of Orlando, Florida.

Authenrieth's time in Florida was marked by numerous transfers, due to allegations that he had sexually abused children. In 1978, after a parishioner at All Souls in Sanford reported to the diocese that Authenrieth had touched his son's genitals, the priest was quietly moved to St. Mary's in Rockledge. In 1983 a St. Mary's parishioner told its pastor that his three young altar-boy sons had been fondled and sodomized by Authenrieth. The pastor told the parishioner to pray, and nothing was done. The family later sued. A fourth young man alleging abuse by the priest at St. Mary's during the same time-period also sued in the mid-1980s. Authenrieth admitted to fondling the four boys, and the cases were settled. In a deposition related to the litigation, Authenrieth stated that he had brought more than one-hundred men to St. Mary's for sex. He also testified that his reason for leaving Brooklyn was that a young male parishioner, "about 18", threatened to reveal that the two of them had engaged in sex. In October 1985 Authenrieth was removed from ministry and sent to the House of Affirmation in Massachusetts for treatment.

A 2002 lawsuit claimed that Authenrieth had sexually abused a boy in the parish rectory during his time at St. Vincent Ferrer's in Brooklyn. Further accusations emerged along with lawsuits in 2012, 2013 and 2014 regarding sexual abuse of young males by Authenrieth in Rockledge and Sanford.

Authenrieth was last known to have been living in a retirement community in Massachusetts. He died June 24, 2015.

: 1962
Died: 2015


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Diocese of Brooklyn

Bishop was Bryan Joseph McEntegart (1957-1968), followed by Francis John Mugavero (1968-1990).

1973 St. Vincent Ferrer


Authenrieth was accused in a 2002 lawsuit of having sexually abused a boy in the rectory of St. Vincent Ferrer's.

NY 5/5, 5/6, 3/6

St. Vincent Ferrer's had a school with 659-535 boys and 466-552 girls.

In a late-1980s deposition, Authenrieth testified that he left Brooklyn for Florida after a young male parishioner who was "about 18" threatened to expose the fact that they had engaged in sex.


Diocese of Orlando

Bishop was William Donald Borders (1968-1974).

1974 Holy Spirit Mims FL 1/1 Temporary Administrator  


Borders was succeeded as Orlando bishop by Thomas Joseph Grady (1974-1989).

1976 St. John Vianney Orlando FL 2/3 St. John Vianney's had a school with 445-459 students.
1976 1978 All Souls


A man filed suit in August 2014, alleging sexual abuse by Authenrieth from January 1976 to July 1978, when the man was a sixth- to eight-grade altar boy at All Souls. He said the abuse occurred in the sacristy and in Authenrieth's living quarters.

After an All Souls' parishioner reported to the diocese in 1978 that Authenrieth had touched his son's genitals, the review board and Bishop Grady met; Authenrieth was transferred to St. Mary's in Rockledge.

FL 2/2 Authenrieth taught at the parish school. All Souls had a school with 261 students.
1978 1983 St. Mary's


Authenrieth was accused in lawsuits filed in 1985 of having sexually abused three boys, including sodomy, between 1978 and 1982. Authenrieth allegedly threatened the boys with the "wrath of God" to keep quiet. A fourth young man also sued in the mid-1980s, alleging abuse as a boy by Authenrieth at St. Mary's. Authenrieth admitted to fondling the four boys. Three of the boys were brothers. Their father said he told St. Mary's pastor about the abuse, whose response was that he should "pray," and "It's not for you to judge. That's for God to do." The father then contacted a lawyer.

In a 2012 lawsuit a man alleged that he and several other children were sexually abused by Authenrieth in 1978, when the man was s a 14-year-old altar boy at St. Mary's. He said the abuse happened in the sacristy, during sleepovers at the rectory and when the priest invited the boy to to his quarters to practice playing the organ.

FL 3/3, 3/4

St. Mary's had a school with 401-423 students.

Per testimony by Authenrieth, in May 1983 an anonymous letter was sent to St. Mary's pastor, Rev. Terrence J. Farrelly stating, in part, that the letter-writer wished Authenrieth would "keep his hands off the altar boys." Authenrieth said he denied wrongdoing, and that Farrelly gave him the letter, which Authenrieth destroyed.

The diocese settled with one of Authenrieth's victims, then age 19, in November 1986 for $490,000. Two more of the suits were settled in May 1987.

Authenrieth admitted that he had brought more than 100 men to St. Mary's for sex.

August 10, 1983   All Souls


In a lawsuit filed in October 2013, Authenrieth was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old-altar boy in 1983-1984 at All Souls. His accuser said Authenrieth threatened to tell everyone he [the boy] was gay if he disclosed the abuse.

FL 1/1

All Souls had a school with 238 students.

Per the October 2013 lawsuit, the diocese's response to learning of the abuse was to transfer Authenrieth to another parish.

1984 1985 Our Lay of Lourdes Melbourne FL 1/3 Administrator Our Lady of Lourdes had a school with 208 students.
  October 1985 St. Patrick Mount Dora FL  

This assignment is per news reports. Authenrieth is not indexed beyond the 1985 Directory.

Authenrieth was suspended from ministry and sent to the House of Affirmation in Massachusetts for treatment.

As of August 2014, Authenrieth was reportedly living in a Massachusetts retirement community. He died June 24, 2015.

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.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1962-1985).

Suits Filed against Priest for Sexually Molesting Boys, United Press International, November 28, 1985
Orlando Diocese to Pay $490,000 for Priest's Assaults, Associated Press, November 7, 1986
 Plan to Prevent Drug Use Approved, St Petersburg Times, March 18, 1987
 Captain a Winner in Fight over Fines, St Petersburg Times, May 6, 1987
 Child-Abuse Cases Cost Church Millions, by Carl M. Cannon, San Jose Mercury News, December 31, 1987
 Diocese Busy Paying for Sins of Its Fathers, Orlando Sentinel, by Debbie Salamone, Gene Yasuda and Jim Leusner, September 17, 1995
 Local Parishes Detached from Scandals, by Cary McMullen, Ledger , April 8, 2002
 Twelve Priests, One Brother Named in Lawsuit, Newsday, October 16, 2002
 Two Dioceses to Settle in Sex-Abuse Lawsuit, by Mark I. Pinsky, Newsday, July 12, 2005
 New Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed against Orlando Diocese, Orlando Sentinel, July 23, 2012
 Former Altar Boy Says Priest Molested Him, WESH, July 23, 2012
 Former Altar Boy Hits Orlando Diocese with Sex Abuse Lawsuit, by Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel, October 2, 2013
 Claim against Orlando Diocese alleges sex abuse by priest in 1972, by Amanda McKenzie, NEWS 13, August 13, 2014
 Orlando Catholic Diocese sued again over sexual abuse, by Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel, August 13, 2014
 Lawsuit filed against Diocese of Orlando for alleged sex abuse by priest, WFTV, August 13, 2014
List of Diocesan Clergy for whom the Diocese received allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor, Diocese of Brooklyn, June 8, 2019. 

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 Authenrieth's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations 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 June 27, 2021.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.