Fr. William Authenrieth

Diocese:  Diocese of Brooklyn

Summary of Assignments:

  • 1962-1973: St. Vincent Ferrer; Brooklyn, NY
  • 1973-1974: Holy Spirit; Mims, FL
    • Temporary Administrator
  • 1974-1976: St. John Vianney; Orlando, FL
  • 1976-1978: All Souls; Sanford, FL
    • Associate Pastor
    • Teacher at the parish school, which had approx. 261 students
  • 1978-1983: St. Mary’s; Rockledge, FL
  • August 10, 1983: All Souls; Sanford, FL
  • 1984-1985: Our Lady of Lourdes; Melbourne, FL
    • Administrator
  • October 1985: St. Patrick; Mount Dora, FL


In 1973, Authenrieth left Brooklyn for Florida after a young male parishioner who was “about 18” years of age threatened to expose that they engaged in intercourse. He testified to this in a late-1980s deposition.

In July 1978, church officials transferred Authenrieth from All Souls to St. Mary’s after a parishioner accused Authenrieth of touching his son’s genitals.

After 10 years at St. Mary’s, Authenrieth was returned to All Souls in August 1983.

In April 1983, teachers at All Souls complained to church officials that Authenrieth made sexually suggestive comments to boys and girls during their confirmation interviews and used vulgar language with teenage boys in the parish. Authenrieth was removed from All Souls a second time.

In lawsuits filed in 1985, three brothers accused Authenrieth of sexually abusing them as boys, including sodomy, at St. Mary’s between 1978 and 1982. Authenrieth allegedly threatened the boys with “fear of the church” and the “wrath of God” to keep quiet. When their father told a St. Mary’s pastor of the abuse, the pastor responded that the father should ‘pray’ and ‘it’s not for you to judge. That’s for God to do.’ The father then contacted a lawyer. A fourth boy sued in the mid-1980s, alleging that Authenrieth sexually abused him as a boy at St. Mary’s. Authenrieth admitted to fondling the four boys.  One lawsuit was settled in November 1986. Two more lawsuits were settled in May 1987.

According to testimony by Authenrieth, an anonymous letter was sent to St. Mary’s pastor, Rev. Terrence J. Farrelly, in May 1983, stating in part that the letter-writer wished Authenrieth would “keep his hands off the altar boys.” Authenrieth denied wrongdoing and Farrelly gave Authenrieth the letter, which he destroyed. Authenrieth also admitted that he had brought more than 100 men to St. Mary’s for sex.

In a 2002 lawsuit, a man accused Authenrieth of sexually abusing him as a boy at St. Vincent Ferrer’s in Brooklyn. The alleged abuse occurred in the parish rectory.

In a 2012 lawsuit, a man alleged that Authenrieth sexually abused him as a boy in 1978, while he was a 14-year-old altar boy at St. Mary’s. The alleged abuse occurred in the sacristy, during sleepovers at the rectory, and in Authenrieth’s living quarters.

In a 2013 lawsuit, a man accused Authenrieth of sexually abusing him as a 14-year-old boy from 198 to 1984 at All Souls. Authenrieth allegedly threatened to tell everyone that they boy was gay if he disclosed the abuse.

In a 2014 lawsuit, a man alleged that Authenrieth sexually abused him as a boy from January 1976 to July 1978, while he was a 6th-8th grade altar boy at All Souls. The alleged abuse occurred in the sacristy and in Authenrieth’s living quarters.

Authenrieth was suspended from ministry in October 1985 and sent to the House of Affirmation in Massachusetts for treatment. As of 2014, he was reportedly living in a retirement community in Massachusetts.

Sources:  United Press International 11.28.85; Associated Press 11.07.86; St Petersburg Times 03.18.87; St Petersburg Times 05.06.87; San Jose Mercury News 12.31.87; Orlando Sentinel 09.17.95; Ledger 04.08.02; Newsday 10.16.02; USA Today 11.11.02; Newsday 07.12.05; Orlando Sentinel 07.23.12; SNAP Statement 07.23.12; WESH 07.23.12; Orlando Sentinel 10.02.13; NEWS 13 08.13.14; Orlando Sentinel 08.13.14; SNAP Statement 08.13.14; WFTV 08.13.14; SNAP Statement 08.14.14; TheMediaReport 08.19.14