Fr. William J. Dowd – Archdiocese of Newark

| May 8, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father William Dowd

Archdiocese of Newark

Ordained: 1967

Removed: 2002

Returned to Ministry: 2007

Retired: 2018

Settlement with Victim: 2020

Assigned as Follows:

  • 1968-1976: Immaculate Conception (Montclair, NJ)
  • 1977-1978: Paramus Hospital (Paramus, NJ)
  • 1979-1982: Bergen County Institutions (Paramus, NJ)
  • 1983-1991: Bergen Pines County Hospital (Paramus, NJ)
  • 1990-1991: Paramus Bergen Youth Detention Center (Paramus, NJ)
  • 1992-1997: Unknown
  • 1998-2003: St. Luke’s (Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ)
  • 2004-2009: Unknown
  • 2010-2013: Special Assignment in the Archdiocese (Brick, NJ)
  • 2014-2019: Special Assignment in the Archdiocese (Avenel, NJ)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William Dowd:

On November 24, 2020, a woman filed a lawsuit against Fr. William Dowd, alleging the priest raped her as two nuns held her down. According to the suit, the abuse took place over seven years, starting when the victim was an eight-year-old parishioner at Immaculate Conception in Montclair.

The Archdiocese of Newark refused to respond to the litigations and the allegations made therein, stating it would be “inappropriate to publicly discuss matters in litigation and/or under review by law enforcement.”

Though the archdiocese has not responded, Fr. Dowd has been publicly accused of sexually abusing minors twice before, reports indicate.

2002 Allegations and Fr. William Dowd’s Temporary Removal

In 2002, two men accused Fr. Dowd of sexually abusing them when they were minors in the same Montclair parish.

One of the men said Fr. Dowd abused him in the late 1960s and early 1970s. At the time, records show that Fr. Dowd was pastor of Immaculate Conception. According to the man’s account, the abuse began when he was a boy having problems at home.

Decades later, the man says he ran into Fr. Dowd and learned the priest was the director of a Children’s Youth Program in Kearny. It was then, he says, the man felt the need to report his experience with the priest to protect other children.

After the man reported the incident to the church, he learned a victim claiming they experienced the same abuse by Fr. Dowd. According to a lay member of the review board, “both [men] described [Fr. Dowd’s] bedroom exactly the same.”

In response to the allegations, the review board determined the case warranted further action. As a result, the archdiocese placed Fr. Dowd on leave.

Fr. William Dowd’s Brief Removal and Subsequent Reinstatement

As investigations into the allegations began, Fr. William Dowd was on leave from St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church, and he stepped down from his post as chaplain with the New York Giants, sources say.

In 2005, a panel of three priests from outside the Newark Archdiocese acquitted Fr. Dowd in a closed-door hearing. Fr. Dowd could not minister in the parish because of the publicity around his allegations, but he was allowed to return to the New York Giants, leading Bible study and counseling.

In 2007, the Vatican supported the acquittal.

2019 Lawsuit against the Archdiocese and Fr. William Dowd

In December 2019, the man who publicly accused Fr. William Dowd of sexual abuse in 2002 filed a lawsuit against the priest and the archdiocese. At a press conference, the former parishioner contended the archdiocese knew of the abuse for years.

In October 2020, the Archdiocese of Newark settled with the man. The mans’ lawyer declined to indicate the settlement amount.

An Accusation from Fr. William Dowd’s Time at Bergen Pines County Hospital

According to sources, another man says Fr. Dowd abused him for several years when he was a teen patient at Bergen Pines County Hospital. Fr. Dowd was chaplain at the hospital for nearly twenty years, reports say. Further details about the nature of the abuse are unavailable.

Fr. William Dowd’s Career

Ordained in 1967, Fr. William Dowd has served for over 40 years in the Archdiocese of Newark—which covers 1.3 million Roman Catholics in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, and Union counties.

During his career, sources say Fr. Dowd also served as associate executive director of the CYO Youth Ministries.

The Archdiocese of Newark listed Fr. Dowd as retired in its 2018-2019 directory. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark in New Jersey.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused in the Archdiocese of Newark, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Newark 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 New Jersey and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.