Assignment Record Rev. David A. Ernst

Summary of Case: David A. Ernst was a priest of the Newark NJ archdiocese, ordained in 1954. He served in parishes in East Orange, Ridgefield Park, Rutherford, Union City and Wyckoff. He died in 1988. There have been multiple accusations of child sexual abuse against Ernst; at least one claim against Ernst was included in an October 2004 one million dollar settlement between the archdiocese and individuals who claimed abuse by 9 priests. Accusations against Ernst were still surfacing in 2010.

: May 29, 1954
Died: March 28, 1988


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Newark archbishop was Thomas Aloysius Boland (1952-1974).

1969 St. Mary's, Help of Christians/Our Lady Help of Christians East Orange NJ 5/5, 4/5, 4/6, 2/5, 2/4, 3/4 Parish had a school with 318-168 boys and 384-226 girls.


Boland was succeeded by Peter Leo Gerety (1974-1986).

1976 St. Francis' Ridgefield Park NJ 3/3 Parish had a school with 672-355 students.
1976 1980 St. Mary's Rutherford NJ 5/5 Parish had a grade school with 320-240 students, and a high school with 477-353 students.
1980 1982 St. Joseph's Union City NJ 1/3 Parish had a school with 225-238 students.


Gerety was replaced as archbishop by Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1986-2000).

1988 St. Elizabeth Wyckoff NJ 1/3

Parish had a school with 272-214 students.

Ernst died March 28, 1988

Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1955-1989)

Ordination for Local Man, Cranford Citizen and Chronicle, May 20, 1954
Priests' Accusers to Share $1 Million, Newark Archdiocese Settles 10 Abuse Cases, The Record [Bergen County, NJ], October 9, 2004

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Ernst's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Dec. 9, 2012.