Assignment Record– Rev. Robert J. Knapp

Summary of Case: Knapp's personnel file, released in 2004, revealed that he was first accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1985, and that he had a "a father-son" relationship with a child, sexual misconduct with three women and "hundreds of incidents" with a victim between 1979 and 1984. He went on "unauthorized leave" in 1988 and was officially suspended by the Boston archdiocese in 2003. Knapp's laicization by the Vatican in 2010 was announced in June 2011. He was last known to have been living in Maine.

Born: 1939
: 1965
Laicized: 2010


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


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

9/09/69 Star of the Sea Quincy (Squantum) MA 2/2 , 3/3  


New York archbishop was Terence James Cooke (1968-1983).

1/26/70 Fordham University New York NY graduate studies  


Cushing was succeeded by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

4/14/71 CCD Office Boston (Brighton) MA Assistant Director Knapp's assignment is unclear. He is indexed in the 1971 Directory as at 1 Lake St., Brighton MA, which was the address for the Chancery.
1/26/70 4/14/71 Holy Name Boston (West Roxbury) MA Technical Assistant/In residence  
4/14/71 7/18/72 St. John the Evangelist Wellesley MA


Technical Assistant/In residence

Parish had a school with 77 boys and 75 girls.
7/18/72 1973 St. Joseph Novitiate and Scholasticate/Xaverian Brothers Danvers MA In residence. This was the home of the Northeastern Province of the Brothers of St. Francis Xavier (Xaverian Brothers).
1973 1975 Casa D Maria Dell Umilta Rome Italy graduate studies  



1976 St. Paul's Cambridge MA 6/7 This assignment is not listed by the archdiocese.
6/02/76 2/24/81 Archdiocesan Respect for Life Program Boston (Brighton) MA


Knapp is also listed by the archdiocese during this time as Coordinator of Pro-life Activities.

6/02/76 10/11/82 Pope John XIII National Seminary


Files were released in 2004 which showed Knapp was first accused of molesting a minor in 1985. Also, he was said to have had a "father-son" relationship with a child, as well as "sexual misconduct" with three women. The accusations include "hundreds of incidents" between 1979-1984 with a victim.


In residence 6/02/76-2/24/81.

Faculty Member 5/03/77-10/11/82



Bernard Francis Law replaced Medeiros (1970-2002).

11/10/86 Regis College Weston MA Campus Minister  
11/10/86 6/10/88 St. Mary of the Annunciation Melrose MA 3/5

Parish had a school with 245 students.

Knapp is not indexed in the Directories beyond 1988.


Law was succeeded by Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. (2003-).

9/19/03 Leave of Absence/Unauthorized        
9/19/03 2010 Suspended       In June 2011 the archdiocese announced that Knapp had been removed from the clerical state in 2010 by the Vatican. Knapp was living in York ME at the time.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1965-1988)

New Files Show Paquin Victim Abused by 2 Priests, By Robin Washington, Boston Herald, January 15, 2004
Two with Local Ties Among 4 Defrocked Priests, MetroWest Daily News, June 13, 2011
June 13, 2011 - Archdiocese of Boston Announces Robert F. Daly, John Keane, Robert Knapp and Benjamin Mcmahon Are No Longer in the Clerical State, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, June 13, 2011
Vatican Ousts 4 from Clerical State, By John M. Guilfoil, Boston Globe, June 14, 2011
Diocese Defrocks York Man Accused of Child Sex Abuse, By Susan Morse, Seacoast Online, June 15, 2011
Vatican Ousts York Man; Sex Abuse Alleged, By Susan Morse, Seacoast Online, June 22, 2011
Boston Archdiocese Posts Sex-Abuse Database Online, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, August 25, 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 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 Knapp'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 October 5, 2015.