Rev. Albert J. "Al" Blanchard

Summary of Case: Blanchard admitted when confronted in 1993 to sexual abuse of a girl over a four year period, beginning in 1971 when the girl was 15. She had gone to him as her priest for counseling. Blanchard left the priesthood in 1977 and got married. He became a social worker, which included work with "street kids". The girl he had victimized in the 1970s discovered in 2009 that Blanchard was a volunteer in a Springfield diocesan program, in which teens sometimes participated. He had also been allowed to teach CCD.

: 1966


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Springfield bishop was Christopher Joseph Weldon (1950-1977)

1972 St. John the Evangelist


Accused of sexual abuse of a girl beginning in 1971, when she was 15 years old, and continuing for four years. The girl had gone to the priest for counseling. (Boston Globe
June 6, 2010)

MA 2/2 The girl reported Blanchard's behavior to the diocese in 1993, and the diocese found her claims to be credible. He "accepted responsibility" for his behavior and agreed to stay away from minors.
1972 1977 St. Patrick's South Hadley MA 2/3  


Weldon was replaced as bishop by Joseph Francis Maguire (1977-1991), followed by John Aloysius Marshall (1991-1994), Thomas Ludger Dupre (1995-2004), then Timothy Anthony McDonnell (2004- )

1978 Leave of Absence      

Blanchard left the priesthood in 1977 and got married.

He went on to work with street kids in the western Boston suburbs, with the elderly in southern Worcester County, and he became a certified social worker. (observe
June 10, 2010)

His victim discovered in 2009 that Blanchard was a volunteer in the Springfield diocese, as a co-leader of a support group for families of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. The support group included teenagers. Blanchard's victim complained to the diocese. The diocese did not remove Blanchard from the volunteer position until a news reporter called them a year after the victim's complaint. (iobserve
June 10, 2010) Blanchard was also allowed by the diocese to teach CCD classes, ending in 2006. (The Republican
June 10, 2010)

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1967-1978)

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 Blanchard'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 June 14, 2010