Fr. William Winston – Diocese of Paterson

Father William Winston

Diocese of Paterson

Fr. William Winston Horowitz Law

Ordained (as a Catholic priest): 1986

Removed: 2004

Laicized: 2007

Assigned as follows:

  • Corpus Christi (Chatham, NJ)
  • St. Patrick (Chatham, NJ)
  • Assumption (Morristown, NJ)
  • St. Virgil (Morris Plains, NJ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father William Winston:

According to media reports, Fr. William Winston was a married Episcopal priest with children when he was allowed by the Vatican to convert to Catholicism almost 20 years earlier.

In 2005, Winston was charged with the sexual abuse and neglect of a young boy, presumably his own son.  In February 2006, Winston pleaded guilty to the abuse and neglect of a young boy. He told the judge he could not refute the sexual abuse charge because his memory was blurred by his alcoholism and subsequently admitted that he touched the child’s genitals on several occasions when the boy was between 1999 and 2002, starting when the boy was 4 years old. At the time, he was serving at St. Virgil’s in Morris Plains.

During his prosecution, a prior history of domestic violence came to the public’s attention.  According to news reports, Winston was arrested and charged with domestic violence in 2004.  He later admitted in court as part of that case that he had severely beaten his wife on at least two occasions in the rectory at St. Virgil while in an alcohol-fueled rage.  

Winston’s defense to the charge of sexual abuse was that he could not handle the demands of the church and his family and compounded his problems with alcohol. His attorney revealed that Winston had applied to the Vatican for laicization, the formal process of removal from priesthood, as a result of the allegation.

In May 2006, Winston was sentenced to jail for six months.

In August 2007, he was laicized (removed from the priesthood) by the Holy See.

Winston’s name was included on the Diocese of Paterson’s February 2019 list of credibly accused priests.

Winston is now in his mid sixties and is believed to be residing in Arlington, VA.  He is not a registered sex offender.  

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Paterson.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New Jersey, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Paterson now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Contact us at (954) 641-2100 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com today.