Probe launched into church finances

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 7/26/22

Father William Damroth, former pastor of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in the City of Newburgh, is currently under investigation for possible financial irregularities during his tenure. …

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Probe launched into church finances

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Father William Damroth, former pastor of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish in the City of Newburgh, is currently under investigation for possible financial irregularities during his tenure.

Parishioners of St. Mother Teresa and Immaculate Conception Parish in Port Jervis received a letter early last week, written and signed by Most Reverend Edmund J. Whalen, Vicar For Clergy of the Archdiocese of New York explaining the current situation involving Damroth.

The letter stated that the Archdiocese of New York had conducted a routine financial audit of St. Theresa following Damroth’s departure and possible financial irregularities were revealed.

“I write to share some news of concern about your former pastor, Father William Damroth,” read the letter from Whalen to parishioners of Saint Mother Teresa. “While I do not like to be the bearer of somber news, you have told us you appreciate hearing such news from us directly.”

Damorth departed from Newburgh late last month and was transferred to Immaculate Conception in Port Jervis to assume the role of pastor. His first official day was July 1.

Damroth was ordained in May of 1993 and served in other parishes in Yonkers, Stony Point, Mount Kisco, Pine Bush and Staten Island. Damroth served in Newburgh as pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Newburgh and later became the pastor of Sacred Heart in Newburgh when the two parishes were merged and combined under the name Saint Mother of Teresa Parish. He was also appointed a chaplain in the city’s police department back in January.

“We have notified the local district attorney, and Father Damroth has volunteered to take a leave of absence while the matter is investigated,” the letter stated. “We have also notified the insurance carriers, in case there is money that can be recovered for the parish.”

The later also stated that Fr. Fernando Hernandez, who assumed the role of pastor following Damroth’s departure is cooperating with the investigation.

Fernandez is also pastor of St. Patrick’s-Saint Mary’s- Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Newburgh.

The letter to Immaculate Conception parishioners, said that Fr. Anthony Giacona, who serves as a parochial vicar at Holy Child Parish in Staten Island, will temporarily serve as the parish administrator.

Ryan Greenbaum, Senior Assistant District Attorney, was contacted and provided the following statement when asked about the on-going investigation.

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on any investigations until/unless charges are publicly filed,” Greenbaum stated.

Whalen was also contacted to provide a statement or any additional information on the on-going investigation. Director of Communications Joe Zwilling stated that the archdiocese “would have no additional comment at this time”.

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