A former altar boy has filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Orlando, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest in the mid-to-late 1970s.
According to the lawsuit, the now-52-year-old man was sexually abused by the Rev. William Authenrieth at All Souls in Sanford Parish. The plaintiff was 13 years old when the alleged sex abuse began, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit claims that Authenrieth engaged the boy in various types of sexual activity and then gave him money, threatening him if he ever told anyone.
Attorney Adam Horowitz said the Diocese of Orlando covered up the abuse of numerous victims by moving Authenrieth to different parishes.
Authenrieth resigned from his post in the mid-80s after a number of lawsuits were filed against him.
Authenrieth now lives in Massachusetts.
The Diocese of Orlando released a statement on Wednesday from Carol Brinati, Chancellor for Administration, saying:
"The Diocese of Orlando has not been served with the civil lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by William Authenrieth, a former priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Most Reverend Thomas Grady (deceased) removed William Authenrieth from ministry on October 22, 1985, and William Authenrieth left the priesthood in 1986. The recent allegation involved sexual misconduct during the time William Authenrieth served at All Souls Catholic Church in Sanford between January 1976 – July 1978.
We are saddened at the allegation of abuse which occurred more than thirty-five years ago. We pray for this person and those who have been victims of acts of abuse by any person. We pray that the healing process may begin for each one of them."