Assignment Record – Msgr. Robert A. Brown

Summary of Case: Brown was ordained in 1939 for the Columbus diocese, which split in 1944. He was thereafter a priest of the Steubenville diocese. By 1964 he had achieved Monsignor status; he held several chancery positions throughout his career. In 2005 a woman testified at the Ohio state house during a hearing regarding the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children that Brown sexually abused her brother in the late 1960s, when her brother was 16 years-old. She stated that Brown also sexually abused their three young cousins. In August 2006 the Steubenville diocese announced that it had received a credible allegation that Brown and a church volunteer sexually abused a boy in the late 1970s. Brown retired in 1984 and died in 1991.

: 1939
Retired: 1984
Died: Oct. 7, 1991


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Columbus bishop was James Joseph Hartley (1903-1944)

1940 St. Vincent de Paul Orphan Asylum Columbus OH 3/3  
1939 1940 St. Ann's Maternity Hospital Columbus OH   This hospital was attended by St. Vincent de Paul Orphan Asylum.
    St. Anthony's Bridgeport OH   This assignment is per news reports.


The Columbus diocese split and the Steubenville diocese was established in 1944. It's first bishop was John Anthony King Mussio (1945-1977)

1948 St. Stanislaus



OH 1/1 St. Stanislaus had a grade school with 262-69 students, and a high school until 1945 with 10-87 students.
1948 1950 Our Lady of Mercy Lowell OH 1/1 Our Lady of Mercy had a catechism class with 90 students.


Mussio was succeeded by Albert Henry Ottenweller (1977-1992)


1984 St. Sylvester's


Brown was accused during a 2005 hearing of having sexually abused a 16 year-old boy in the late 1960s at St. Sylvester's, when Brown was 58 years old. The abuse is said to have occurred at the church rectory at an overnight party. Other boys were said to have been there, and alcohol "plentiful". Fr. Brown allegedly selected the 16 year-old boy to share his bed that night, where Brown masturbated the boy. Brown is said to have told the boy the next morning that what happened was a sin, so Brown drove the boy to a different town to have another priest hear his confession. The boy's three cousins were also said to have been sexually abused by Brown.

The diocese announced in Aug. 2006 that it had received a credible allegation that Brown and former church volunteer, Mr. Paul Ditto, sexually abused a boy at St. Sylvester's between 1976-1978.


2/2, 1/1, 1/2

Pastor until 1964 was Msgr. Joseph G. Mehler, after which Brown was pastor. In residence 1972-1973 was Rev. Donald K. Nuss. In 1973-1974 Rev. Louis Gaetano was Brown's assistant, followed in 1974-1975 by Rev. Joseph Martinkosky. Working under Brown 1982-1983 was Rev. Ronald Griffith.

St. Sylvester's had a school with 92-165 students, and a catechism class beginning in 1958 with 14-50 students.
1964 1979 Vicarri Foranii, Visitation Deanery Steubenville OH    
1966 1974 Synodal Examiners Steubenville OH    
1973 1978 St. Joseph's Burkhart OH 1/1 non-resident  
1979 1982 Diocesan Consultors Steubenville OH    
1984 1991 Retired Woodsfield OH   Brown died Oct. 7, 1991


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1940-1992)

Jones SOL Testimony, Dec. 8, 2005
Statement Concerning Rev. Msgr. Robert A. Brown & Mr. Paul Ditto, Diocese of Steubenville, August 11, 2006
Former Woodsfield Priest Accused of Abuse, WTOV [Steubenville OH], August 11, 2006
Survivor Network Wants Church Apology, By Shelby Zarotney, WTOV NEWS9, August 16, 2006
Church Officials Urge Potential Abuse Victims to Come Forward, By Diana DeCola , The Marietta Times [Ohio], August 17, 2006

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 Brown'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 Aug. 8, 2012