Fr. William Effinger: Accused of Sexual Misconduct of a Minor

Fr. William Effinger


  • 1960 – 1972: St. Mary Parish, Kenosha
  • 1972 – 1973: St. Aloysius Parish, West Allis
  • 1973 – 1979: St. Francis De Sales Parish, Lake Geneva
  • 1979 – 1992: Holy Name Parish, Sheboygan


In April, 1979, a Lake Geneva parent informed Archbishop Weakland that Effinger had molested his son a few days earlier. Effinger was confronted by the parent and admitted the abuse. A report was sent to Archbishop Weakland.

In May, 1979, another parent reported that a son had been molested by Effinger two years earlier. Effinger was sent for counseling and appointed temporary administrator at St. Peter Parish, Port Washington.

In July, 1979, Effinger was appointed associate pastor at Holy Name Parish, Sheboygan.

In July, 1981, the parent who made the original report inquired about what kind of treatment Effinger had been receiving over the prior two years.

In September, 1981, Effinger was named administrator of Holy Name Parish.

In 1983, concerns were raised about Effinger’s excessive drinking. In September, 1983, Effinger was sent to Dr. Gillette for an evaluation. In the referral letter to Dr. Gillette the vicar for clergy reported that Effinger had been reported as having a group of boys sleep over in the gym one night and that the boys drank beer and wine. Effinger admitted that this happened but denied giving the alcohol to the boys himself even though the parents accused him of doing so. Some parents questioned if anything sexual happened but there were no reports of that from the parents. Effinger also admitted to taking some boys with him on trips to his cabin but denied that anything improper happened.

In November, 1983, Gillette advised that Effinger needed to be confronted more strongly about his drinking and sexuality.

In December, 1984, Effinger was told to get outpatient alcohol counseling.

In June, 1987, Effinger was appointed pastor at Holy Name Parish. In September, 1987, Effinger was arrested twice in one night for driving while intoxicated.

In April, 1989, Effinger was admitted to the Guest House for inpatient alcohol treatment.

In June, 1992, a report was made of sexual abuse by Effinger dating from his first assignment in Kenosha.

In September, 1992, Effinger was confronted with the several allegations that had been filed against him and additional reports are received about past abuse. In October, 1992, Effinger was sent to the Guest House and the parish was informed he was on a leave of absence for personal reasons.

Allegations about Effinger became public throughout October, 1992, with both television and newspaper reports. Archbishop Weakland addressed a town hall meeting at Holy Name Parish in November, 1992, admitting the use of poor judgment in reassigning Effinger after the original report of sexual abuse of a minor. In January, 1993, Effinger was charged with second degree sexual assault of a teenage boy in 1987 and 1988. In July, 1993, after Effinger pleaded no contest, Judge Gary Langhoff sentenced him to 10 years in prison, the maximum sentence for the offense.

Effinger died in jail in December, 1996.

Pastoral Assignment Gathered From The Archdiocese of Milwaukee