Tag: William Presley

Fr. William F. Presley – Diocese of Harrisburg

Fr. William F. Presley 

Diocese of Harrisburg 

Ordained: 1956

Laicized: 2006

Died: 2012

 

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1956-1965 St. Cosmas and Damian (Puxsutawney, PA)
  • 1965-1970 Elk County Christian High School (St. Mary’s, PA)
  • 1971 Immaculate Conception (Brookville, PA)
  • 1971-1972 Our Lady Queen of the Americas (Conneaut Lake, PA)
  • 1970-1976 Leave of Absence; Graduate and Student Counselor (Notre Dame, IN)
  • 1976-1977 Leave of Absence; St. Joseph University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1977-1978 Leave of Absence; Campus Minister at University of Maryland (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1978-1981 St. Therese (Shinglehouse, PA)
  • 1971-1981 Sacred Heart Mission (Genesee, PA)
  • 1981-1983 Leave of Absence; Parish Ministry  (Raleigh, NC)
  • 1983-1988 St. Agnes (Morrisdale, PA)
  • 1988-1990 Leave of Absence; Outside the diocese
  • 1990-2000 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sykesville, PA)

 

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against William F. Presley:

Father William Presley was originally ordained in the Diocese of Erie in Pennsylvania, but traveled all over the state during his priesthood. According to the diocese, they were first aware of allegations that had been made against Father Presley in 1987. As reported to the diocese, the alleged sexual abuse involved two victims and spanned over a course of nearly 16 years. One of the victims was a female who had been abused as recently as 1986, while the second victim was abused prior to 1971, when he was a highschool student in another parish. 

Diocesan officials agreed Presley was “extremely violent” and was sent for psychological evaluation. 

William Presley was able to retired in 2000. 

In April of 2002, three more people came forward alleging sexual abuse by Father Presley from 1963- 1974. One victim was age 13 at the time, another a University of Notre Dame college student. William Presley admitted to the abuse to Bishop Trautman and described in detail the violence of his crimes. 

William Presley was officially placed on leave in July of 2002. His privileges were removed after the investigation. The diocese said there were numerous other victims or potential victims who had yet to come forward. He was officially laicized in 2006. William F. Presley died in April of 2012. 

He has been included on the Erie diocese 2018 list of accused clergy members and priests, along with the Harrisburg diocese, Baltimore diocese, and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. He was also added to the Raleigh diocese’s list that notes abuse that was reported in 2018 from 1971. 

In February 2020, the Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy protection. As part of its bankruptcy, the Diocese of Harrisburg will be reviewing and paying claims for anyone sexually abused by diocesan priests and lay employees. This will likely include claims filed on behalf of anyone whose case may be beyond the statute of limitations. 

Although no allegations against Presley occurred in the Harrisburg diocese, his name was included in the bankruptcy proceeding; falling under the category of cases where abuse was alleged to have occurred in another diocese. William Presley is listed as deceased.

 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania. The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Harrisburg may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Harrisburg if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.   

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your legal options today. 

Fr. William Presley – Diocese of Raleigh

Father William Presley

Diocese of Raleigh

William Presley Diocese of Raleigh Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1956

Placed on Leave: 2002

Laicized: 2006

Died: 2012

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1956-1965: St. Cosmas and Damian (Punxsutawney, PA)
  • 1965-1970: Elk County Christian High School (St. Mary’s, PA)
  • 1971:          Immaculate Conception (Brookville, PA)
  • 1972:          Our Lady Queen of the Americas (Conneaut Lake, PA)
  • 1970-1976: Leave of Absence (Notre Dame, IN)
  • 1976-1977: Leave of Absence (St. Joseph University, Philadelphia)
  • 1977-1978: Leave of Absence (University of Maryland, Baltimore)
  • 1978-1981: St. Therese (Shinglehouse, PA)
  • 1971-1981: Sacred Heart Mission (Genesee, PA)
  • 1981-1983: Leave of Absence (Raleigh, NC)
  • 1983-1988: St. Agnes (Morrisdale, PA)
  • 1988-1990: Leave of Absence – Outside Diocese 
  • 1990-2000: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary  (Sykesville, PA)
  • 2000:           Retired

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William Presley:

Father William Prelsey was ordained a priest in 1956, and served in the Diocese of Raleigh. According to media reports, in has been accused of sexual abuse with allegations known by the Diocese of Erie as early as 1982. There were reports made to the Erie Diocese in November of 1987, of sexual abuse the year prior of a teen girl and teenage boy. Diocesan officials agreed that Presley was “extremely violent,” and he was sent away for a psych evaluation. He officially retired in 2000. 

Three more victims came forward in April 2002, alleging sexual abuse by Father Presley. The abuse occurred from 1963-1974, one at age 13 and another a college student. Presley admitted to the abuse to Bishop Trautman and went into detail that included “choking, slapping, punching, rape, sodomy…” and many more. He was then placed on leave in 2002, and his privileges were also removed after an official investigation. The Diocese said that there were multiple victims or potential victims and he was officially laicized in 2006. 

William Presley died in April of 2012. His name has been included in several diocese’s list of accused clergy including Harrisburg, Baltimore, Raleigh and a Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report. According to the Diocese of Raleigh, a victim reported to it in 2018 that he/she was sexually abused by Presley in 1971. No additional details about the Raleigh allegation have been released. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Raleigh in North Carolina.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in North Carolina, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Raleigh now have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in North Carolina and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. William F. Presley – Diocese of Erie

Father William F. Presley
Diocese of Erie

Fr William Presley Horowitz Law

Ordained: November 1935

Retired: July 2000

Laicization: 2006

Died: 2012

Assigned as follows:

  • 05/1956 – 06/1965: St. Cosmas and Damian, Punxsutawney
  • 06/1965 – 08/1970: Elk County Christian High School, St. Marys
  • 05/1971 – 08/1971: Immaculate Conception, Brookville
  • 05/1972 – 08/1971: Our Lady Queen of the Americas, Conneaut Lake
  • 08/1970 – 06/1976: Leave of Absence, Graduate and Student Counselor, Notre Dame,
    Indiana
  • 06/1976 – 06/1977: Leave of Absence, St. Joseph University, Philadelphia
  • 06/1977 – 06/1978: Leave of Absence, Campus Minister, University of Maryland,
    Baltimore, Maryland
  • 06/1978 – 08/1981: St. Therese, Shinglehouse
  • 06/1971 – 08/1981: Sacred Heart Mission, Genesee
  • 08/1981 – 03/1983: Leave of Absence, Parish Ministry in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • 03/1983 – 03/1988: St. Agnes, Morrisdale (three separate assignments)
  • 03/1988 – 04/1990: Leave of Absence, Outside the Diocese
  • 04/1990 – 07/2000: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sykesville (three separate
    assignments)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William F. Presley:

According to a lengthy, in-depth examination of the history of Fr. William F. Presley by the grand jury, the Diocese of Erie was first apprised of Father William Presley’s sexual abuses as early as November 1987 during his assignment at St. Agnes. These sexual abuses, as reported to the Diocese, involved two victims over the span of sixteen years. One of the victims had been abused as recently as 1986; the second victim was abused prior to 1971 when he was a high school student in another parish.

Between February and May 1988, various meetings or discussions were held between Presley and Diocesan officials. The Diocese noted that Presley did not directly deny the allegations.

According to the grand jury report, there was a consensus amongst Diocese of Erie chancery officials that Presley was extremely violent and predisposed to assaultive behavior.

In 1988, Bobal wrote a letter to Murphy containing his recollection of a meeting with Presley. He confirmed that Presley had given the teenaged female victim a job and had obtained other items for her, including clothing and money. He also noted the possibility that Presley would become violent. The meeting concluded with a request that Presley undergo a psychological evaluation. Presley ultimately refused the evaluation but agreed to see another doctor at the recommendation of the Diocese.

Following an evaluation in April 1990, Murphy placed Presley in a temporary assignment, which was made permanent in June 1990. Shortly thereafter, Trautman allowed Presley to remain in his position as Pastor and Administrator at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Sykesville, Jefferson County. In April 1996, Trautman appointed Presley to a new 6-year term as Administrator of this Church, where Father Presley remained until his retirement in 2000.

Reports of Violent Sexual Abuse from Father Presley

In April 2002, three separate victims notified Trautman of sexual abuse perpetrated upon them by Presley from 1963 to 1974. One of the victims was as young as 13 years old when it occurred.

The abuse of these individuals consisted of “choking, slapping, punching, rape, sodomy, fellatio, anal intercourse,” and other acts according to Diocesan records reviewed by the Grand Jury.

In 2002, Trautman contacted Presley by telephone and recorded that Presley admitted the sexual abuse of the victims.

Trautman revoked Presley’s priestly faculties later that year.

In April 2003, and in response to media inquiries about Presley, the Diocese of Erie issued a press release stating, among other things, that Presley’s priestly faculties were removed in July 2002 shortly after the allegations prompted the Diocese to conduct an internal investigation. The Diocese stated that Trautman’ s understanding of the alleged incidents was that the crimes had occurred 28 years ago during the time of the late Bishop Watson.

The Diocese explained that the individual making the allegation was twenty years old at the time and enrolled at a college in another state where the incidents were reported to have occurred. The Diocese told the public that it had “no information to provide on other possible allegations against the priest.”

The press release from the Diocese of Erie was false and misleading.  Trautman had personal knowledge of at least three victims, one as young as 13, who reported their abuse to him in 2002. Only one victim was an out-of-state college student. Moreover, the Diocese was aware of sexual abuse complaints against Presley as early as 1987 but permitted him to stay in active ministry for another 13 years.  Of course, this is to say nothing of the other allegations known to Trautman about other priests at the time he made the statement.

Additionally, Diocesan records showed that Presley was so violent that priests who interacted with him were concerned for their safety.

Later that year, Trautman communicated with the Vatican and outlined additional details with respect to sexual abuse committed by Presley. Trautman reported that the information “…confirms my suspicion that there are even more victims of the sexual abuse and exploitation perpetrated by Presley.”

More Allegations Recorded Against Presley

By 2005, the Diocese was actively engaged in an attempt to formally remove Presley from the priesthood. In the course of that effort, personnel for the Diocese interviewed other witnesses or associates of Presley and identified numerous additional victims or potential victims.

Monsignor Mark Bartchak led the investigation. Several of these individuals stated that they informed the Diocese of their concerns in the 1980s, including a report to a parish council member, who stated that Presley would not allow anyone else inside the rectory when certain children were present and that some of these children spent the night with him on multiple occasions.

Bartchak also re-interviewed the male victim who had previously disclosed his abuse to the Diocese in 1982, 1987, and 2002. He explained that Presley invited him to his rectory after befriending him. Presley then tried to hypnotize him before assaulting him. Presley brought other children on some of these trips, including one occasion when he tried to abuse both the victim and another high school student at the same time.

Presley taught the victim how to have sexual intercourse by bringing in a female high school student and using index cards to show them where to touch each other. On more than one occasion, Presley gave him some type of sedative to relax him prior to abusing him. Presley stated that it was okay “because he was a priest” and used his position as a spiritual guide to further the abuse.

On August 25, 2005, Bartchak sent a confidential memo to Trautman that detailed the results of his interviews to date. Bartchak stated the following: “I was not surprised to learn from other witnesses from the Elk County area, that there are likely to be other victims” and that “… several more witnesses who could attest to the brutality that they were subjected to by Father Presley.”

Bartchak asked, “It is likely that there may be others who were also of the age for the offenses to be considered delicts, but to what end is it necessary to follow every lead?”

He sought Trautman’ s opinion, asking, “Is it worth the further harm and scandal that might occur if this is all brought up again? I am asking you how you want me to proceed. With due regard for the potential for more harm to individuals and for more scandal, should I continue to follow up on potential leads?”

Four days later Bartchak documented a meeting earlier that day with Trautman, in which he stated Bishop Trautman decided that in order to preclude further scandal, these additional witnesses should not be contacted, especially given the fact that is not likely that they will lead to information concerning delicts involving minors under 16 years of age.

On July 13, 2006, Trautman wrote to the Lancaster County District Attorney. His letter stated that Presley was now defrocked and that the Diocese had received “credible allegations regarding sexual misconduct with a minor which allegedly occurred many years ago.” Trautman falsely wrote, “We were unaware of these allegations until they came to light only a few years ago. As a result, no criminal charges were ever brought forward because the statute of limitations had expired.”

More Allegations Reported Against Presley

In 2020, a former student and victim of Fr. Presley shared his story. The survivor stated that Presley raped him three times during his sophomore year at Notre Dame in 1977. Fr. Presley came to Notre Dame from the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, in August of 1970, according to the grand jury report, which lists him as a “graduate and student counselor” at the time. According to The Observer archives, he was named rector of St. Edward’s Hall in September 1971. University records also indicate he was a member of hall staff in Keenan Hall. The victim reported the abuse to Notre Dame in 2002, in which they offered him an apology in a public statement. The University’s apology did little to assuage the pain the victim has felt for nearly half a century. For almost 30 years, he had refused to report Presley’s behavior to Notre Dame — largely, because of a mix of fear and shame.

Presley was defrocked in 2006. He died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2012.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Erie. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Erie may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.