Fr. William F. Presley – Diocese of Harrisburg

| Apr 19, 2020 | Abuser Profiles

Fr. William F. Presley 

Diocese of Harrisburg 

Ordained: 1956

Laicized: 2006

Died: 2012


Assigned as Follows:

  • 1956-1965 St. Cosmas and Damian (Puxsutawney, PA)
  • 1965-1970 Elk County Christian High School (St. Mary’s, PA)
  • 1971 Immaculate Conception (Brookville, PA)
  • 1971-1972 Our Lady Queen of the Americas (Conneaut Lake, PA)
  • 1970-1976 Leave of Absence; Graduate and Student Counselor (Notre Dame, IN)
  • 1976-1977 Leave of Absence; St. Joseph University (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1977-1978 Leave of Absence; Campus Minister at University of Maryland (Baltimore, MD)
  • 1978-1981 St. Therese (Shinglehouse, PA)
  • 1971-1981 Sacred Heart Mission (Genesee, PA)
  • 1981-1983 Leave of Absence; Parish Ministry  (Raleigh, NC)
  • 1983-1988 St. Agnes (Morrisdale, PA)
  • 1988-1990 Leave of Absence; Outside the diocese
  • 1990-2000 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Sykesville, PA)


Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against William F. Presley:

Father William Presley was originally ordained in the Diocese of Erie in Pennsylvania, but traveled all over the state during his priesthood. According to the diocese, they were first aware of allegations that had been made against Father Presley in 1987. As reported to the diocese, the alleged sexual abuse involved two victims and spanned over a course of nearly 16 years. One of the victims was a female who had been abused as recently as 1986, while the second victim was abused prior to 1971, when he was a highschool student in another parish. 

Diocesan officials agreed Presley was “extremely violent” and was sent for psychological evaluation. 

William Presley was able to retired in 2000. 

In April of 2002, three more people came forward alleging sexual abuse by Father Presley from 1963- 1974. One victim was age 13 at the time, another a University of Notre Dame college student. William Presley admitted to the abuse to Bishop Trautman and described in detail the violence of his crimes. 

William Presley was officially placed on leave in July of 2002. His privileges were removed after the investigation. The diocese said there were numerous other victims or potential victims who had yet to come forward. He was officially laicized in 2006. William F. Presley died in April of 2012. 

He has been included on the Erie diocese 2018 list of accused clergy members and priests, along with the Harrisburg diocese, Baltimore diocese, and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report. He was also added to the Raleigh diocese’s list that notes abuse that was reported in 2018 from 1971. 

In February 2020, the Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy protection. As part of its bankruptcy, the Diocese of Harrisburg will be reviewing and paying claims for anyone sexually abused by diocesan priests and lay employees. This will likely include claims filed on behalf of anyone whose case may be beyond the statute of limitations. 

Although no allegations against Presley occurred in the Harrisburg diocese, his name was included in the bankruptcy proceeding; falling under the category of cases where abuse was alleged to have occurred in another diocese. William Presley is listed as deceased.


Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg and throughout Pennsylvania. The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Harrisburg may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply.  Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Harrisburg will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Harrisburg if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.   

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