Orange County Catholic priest under investigation for missing funds

A Catholic priest in Orange County is under investigation and on a leave of absence after a financial probe found the church had missing funds.

Blaise Gomez

Jul 22, 2022, 3:55 PM

Updated 665 days ago


When parishioners donate to their church, it’s thought the money will be used for good. 
So, when the archdiocese sent a letter to churchgoers at Saint Mother Teresa’s in Newburgh that their former priest is under investigation for possibly stealing from the parish, you can imagine the surprise. 
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office says Father William Damroth is under investigation after Catholic leaders said possible discrepancies were found during an audit.  
The archdiocese says the discovery was made after Damroth was reassigned to Port Jervis. 
Damroth’s began his assignment as pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish July 1. 
His new role in the community made headlines late last month, and it was reported that he was "happy to begin his new life as pastor" at the location. 
As of Friday, the archdiocese confirms he’s no longer serving in Port Jervis and instead is on a voluntary leave of absence during the probe. 
Damroth was ordained in 1993 and previously served as a priest in several parishes in Rockland, Westchester and Staten Island. 
The archdiocese says it notified authorities after it found problems with the parish’s financial records. The archdiocese is in touch with its insurance company to see of some of the funds can be recovered.
In a letter to parishioners, church leaders asked people to keep Damroth in their prayers. 
A parishioner News 12 spoke to outside of St. Mother Teresa’s Parish Friday referenced scripture saying, “Like Jesus said, ‘He without sin’ – he that never steal nothing, raise your hand.'"

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