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Assignment Record– Rev. George James Callaghan, O.S.A.

Summary of Case: George J. Callaghan was ordained a priest of the Order of St. Augustine in 1956. His was assigned to parishes, high schools and colleges and to multiple dioceses including Washington DC, New York NY, Boston MA and Philadelphia PA. In the early 1990s he was sent from the Boston archdiocese to his order's provincial headquarters in Villanova PA, then reportedly to a local nursing home, due to advanced Alzheimer's disease. Callaghan's personnel file, which was released in December 2002, showed that he had been accused of making sexual advances toward a 17-year-old boy at
at his Lawrence MA parish in 1983. Callaghan was said to have lured the boy to his rectory bedroom and told him that in order to be "closer to God" the boy needed to take off his clothes and lie down next to him. Also, the Augustians settled in 1993 with a 22-year-old male employee of another Lawrence MA parish who claimed Callaghan sexually harrassed him by making lewd comments and groping him. Callaghan died in December 2008.

Born: December 29, 1929
Ordained: 1956
Died: December 24, 2008

Start Stop Assignment Town State Position Notes

1956

Washington DC archbishop was Patrick Aloysius O'Boyle (1947-1973).

1957 Augustinian College Washington DC 12/13  

1957

New York archbishop was Francis Joseph Spellman (1939-1967).
1959 Augustinian Preparatory Seminary New York (Staten Island) NY 6/8  

1959

Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

1964 Holy Rosary (Italian) Lawrence MA 4/5, 4/4 Parish had a school with 304-268 boys and 308-285 girls.

1964

Brooklyn bishop was Bryan Joseph McEntegart (1957-1968).

1966 St. Nicholas of Tolentine New York (Jamaica, Queens Co.) NY 5/7, 5/6 Parish had a school with 445-494 boys and 550-508 girls.

1966

Albany bishop was William Aloysius Scully (1954-1969), followed by Edwin Bernard Broderick (1969-1976).

1970 Immaculate Conception Hoosick Falls NY 2/3 Parish had a high school with 130 students and a grade school with 350 students.
1970 1976? St. Augustine's Troy NY 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, 8/9 Callaghan is indexed as being at this parish but not listed there in the diocesan pages of the 1975 and 1976 Directories. Parish had a school with 755 -600 students.
    Merrimack College North Andover MA counselor This assignment is per Callaghan's obituary. Timeframe unclear.

1976?

Boston archbishop was Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

1978 St. Augustine's Lawrence MA

1/1, 1/3

Prior and Pastor

Listed as "Very Reverend" George J. Callaghan, O.S.A.

Parish school had 247 students.

1978 1982 Holy Rosary (Italo-American) Lawrence MA 5/6 Parish had a school with 250-223 students.

1982

Medeiros was succeeded by Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002).

1984 Assumption B.V.M. (St. Mary's)

Lawrence

Personnel file released in 2002 revealed accusation that Callaghan lured a 17-year-old boy to his rectory room in 1983, telling him that if he wanted to "get closer to God" he should strip naked and lie on the priest's bed. The boy is said to have fled.

Callaghan was accused in 1993 of sexually harrassing a 22-year-old male employee of St. Mary's who said the priest groped him and made lewd remarks. The man received a $17,000 settlement.

MA 2/3, 2/2

Several months later another Augustinian priest at the parish, Rev. Alfred M. Murphy is said to have molested the same youth for 21 straight nights in the priest's camper during a cross-country trip. The Augustinians settled with Callaghan and Murphy's accuser in 1992.

1984 1986 Austin Preparatory School Reading MA 7/7, 7/8

School had 600-550 students.

Callaghan is not indexed beyond the 1986 Directory.

    Villanova University Villanova PA counselor This assignment is per Callaghan's obituary. Timeframe unclear.

late '80s or early '90s

Philadelphia archbishop was Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (1987-2003), followed by Justin Francis Rigali (2003-2011).

2008 St. Thomas Monastery Villanova PA  

Per some reports Callaghan was transferred in the late 1980s or early 1990s to the Augustinians' headquarters at Villanova. In December 2002 the Augustinian prior provincial said Callaghan had been living with Alzheimer's disease in a nursing home since he arrived more than 10 years previously from Massachusetts.

Callaghan died December 24, 2008.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1957-1986).


Documents Detail Law's Steps on Pastor, Transferred Priest, By Michael Rezendes and Matt Carroll, Boston Globe, December 12, 2002
Sordid Tales Emerge As More Priest Files Opened, By Robin Washington, Franci Richardson, Marie Szaniszlo and Jules Crittenden, Boston (MA) Herald, December 12, 2002
Diocese Releases Files on Spagnolia and Other Priests with Local Ties, By Julie Mehegan, Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA), December 12, 2002Allegedly Abusive Priests Were Sent Here
2 Augustinians Were Kicked out of Boston-Area Church, By Ron Goldwyn, Philadelphia Daily News, December 20, 2002
Rev. G.J. Callaghan, Obituary, Union Leader (Manchester, NH), December 29, 2008
The Missing Names from Cardinal O'Malley's List of Accused Clerics, Boston Globe, November 20, 2011


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 & 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 Callaghan'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 September 14, 2015.

 
 

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