Abusive Priest Works as a Counselor in Alabama

A New York priest who defrocked in 2002 but whose identity as a credibly accused child molester was kept hidden by Catholic officials until 2017, is a licensed counselor in Florida, according to a lengthy new investigation by the Associated Press. We call on law enforcement officials to use every possible method to prod anyone with information or suspicions about this abuser’s crimes to come forward. And we call on Catholic officials – especially in New York and Alabama - to do more to warn the public about him.

According to a complaint filed in January with the Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology, a woman said Fr. William Finger had abused her for a decade when he was a priest and she was 12 years old. She also said he had sexually abused her sister and a female cousin, according to the AP.

Alabama’s board issued an emergency suspension and Fr. Finger’s employer fired him.

But he likely would never have gotten the job or the license had Brooklyn Catholic officials not concealed his crimes for years. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio should hire independent investigators to determine who ignored or hid Fr. Finger’s crimes and fire, denounce, demote and discipline them.

The decision whether to permanently suspend Finger’s license is pending. We hope church officials will give the board every shred of paper they have about Fr. Finger which may enable the board to take away his license for good.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant