Lawsuit filed against Diocese of Orlando for alleged sex abuse by priest

ORLANDO, Fla. — A new clergy sex abuse lawsuit was filed against the Diocese of Orlando. The plaintiff claims he was abused in a parish in Sanford in the 1970s.

The alleged victim is now 52 years old. His attorney said he's lived with the shame his entire life and is looking for justice.

"He's very bitter toward the Catholic Church. He's lived with shame and embarrassment," said attorney Adam Horowitz.

Horowitz said this is the fifth lawsuit he's filed against Father William Authenrieth, who is living in a retirement community in Massachusetts. It's the seventh lawsuit filed against Authenrieth in all.

Authenrieth was bounced around from parish to parish during his time in the Orlando Diocese.

In this case, the abuse allegedly happened at All Souls Church in Sanford.

In the suit the alleged victim said the priest told him he was "admiring God's work" and said the priest paid him off.

"He alleges the abuse involved oral sex and sodomy between the ages of 13 and 15," said Horowitz.

Horowitz said the Diocese of Orlando failed to protect its children and covered up pedophile priests.

"This priest had an unusually high number of transfers," said Horowitz.

Horowitz said his client finally came forward at the urging of Pope Francis.

"The reason he's coming forward now, is just last month, the pope in the Vatican made the following statement: 'It's time for the Catholic Church to make reparations to its victims,'" said Horowitz.

According to Horowitz, his client has had to undergo therapy because of the alleged abuse.

In a statement, the Chancellor for Administration for the Diocese of Orlando, Carol Brinati, said, "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."

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