A pastor who was fired from his church for allegedly being an alcoholic and sexually harassing women is back in the spotlight.
Father Steven C. Williams, 57, was fired after an investigation by the Archdiocese of Newark.
The Rev. James D. Johnson of the Newark Archdiocesan Conference said in a statement Sunday that he is disappointed to learn of Williams’ firing and plans to appeal.
Williams has been an archbishop for 13 years, serving as the president of the diocese for the past seven.
He is also the chairman of the archdiocese’s Religious Affairs Committee.
The archdioceses religious affairs committee was made up of pastors and other religious leaders.
Williams was accused of abusing women over the past 15 years.
He was arrested last week and charged with felony counts of sexual assault, forcible sodomy, and abuse of minors.
He has denied all the charges.
Pastor Anthony Mancuso told NJ.com that he was shocked when he learned of the charges against Williams.
“I’ve known him for over 20 years and never thought that he would ever come out of that and become a priest, especially in Newark,” he said.
“I’m shocked that he’s been allowed to go back into ministry.”
Williams’ resignation letter to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka read, in part, “I am deeply saddened to have to resign from the Diocese of New Jersey.
It is the right thing to do and my heart goes out to my family, the people of Newark and the entire Diocese.”
His attorney said that the archbishop was fired for violating church policy and the Rev. Johnson was fired because he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman.
The statement from Johnson’s office did not say what the two were involved in.