Msgr. William Williams, former vicar of Ulster County, dies at 85; was cleared of sexual abuse charge in May

By Patricia R. Doxsey
Daily Freeman
October 14, 2019

Msgr. William Williams, seated at far right, listens to Archbishop Timothy Dolan, leader of the Archdiocese of New York, speaks to a standing-room-only crowd at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Uptown Kingston in April 2009. Seated next to Williams is Rev. Frank Damis. Williams, who was the vicar of Ulster County when this photo was taken, has died at age 85.
Photo by Tania Barricklo

Msgr. William Williams, a former vicar of Ulster County, has died five months after being cleared by a Vatican-authorized tribunal of sexually abusing a child.

Williams was 85 when he died at the Ten Broeck Commons nursing home in Lake Katrine on Oct. 9, according to his obituary.

Williams' name appeared on an April 26, 2019, list released by the Archdiocese of New York that contained the names of 120 priests who had been "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. Williams was among 12 priests in the Mid-Hudson Valley who appeared on the list.

According to the archdiocese, the allegations against Williams were made in 2018, and based on those allegations, the church removed the retired priest from the ministry.

But Williams was cleared of wrongdoing this past May, following a canonical trial by a Vatican-authorized tribunal.

The tribunal found Williams not guilty of the charge of sexually abusing one minor, the archdiocese said at the time.

The archdiocese has not said why the allegation initially was deemed credible, how it was investigated or when the alleged incident occurred. 

Williams was ordained on May 30, 1959, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City by Cardinal Francis Spellman.

He was an assistant at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Uptown Kingston from 1959 to 1964, then an assistant at St. Gregory's Church in the Westchester County town of Harrison.

Williams was pastor of St. Joseph’s in Kingston from 1981 to 1994 and pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Saugerties from 1994 to 2011, when he retired.

In 1989, he was appointed regional vicar of Ulster County and was named a monsignor in 1995.

In addition to his parish assignments, Williams taught religion and was a counselor at St. Ursula’s Academy in Kingston and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in White Plains.

Williams will lie in repose at St. Joseph’s Church Roman Catholic Church, 242 Wall St., Kingston, from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at the church at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Williams will be buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Port Jervis.



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