Assignment Record – Rev. Francis X. Nawn, s.j.

Summary of Case: Francis X. Nawn was ordained a Jesuit priest for the Wisconsin Province in June 1951. He was assigned to Jesuit high schools in Colorado and Wisconsin, then to Creighton University in Omaha NE for a year. In 1962 Nawn was transferred to Alaska, and was transcribed to the Oregon Province in 1973. He lived and worked in remote Alaskan villages until 1988, with the exception of a year's sabbatical at Fordham University in New York. He died Oct. 1, 1992. In 2004 Nawn's name first surfaced in lawsuits as having perpetrated child sexual abuse in Sheldon Point AK. The abuse was said to have occurred as early as 1963 and until at least 1977. By August 2005 nine men and a woman had come forward with allegations of sexual abuse by Nawn when they were children.

: June 14, 1951
Died: Oct. 1, 1992


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State/Country Position Notes


Kansas City in Kansas bishop was Edward Joseph Hunkeler (1951-1969).

1952 St. Mary's College St. Mary's KS  


Springfield in Illinois bishop was William Aloysius O'Connor (1948-1975).

1953 St. Joseph Hall Decatur IL tertianship  


Denver archbishop was Urban John Vehr (1931-1967).

1954 Regis High School Denver CO    


La Crosse bishop was John Patrick Treacy (1948-1964).

1956 Campion High School Prairie Du Chien WI   This was a boarding and day school with 532 students, all male.
1956 1961 Marquette High School Milwaukee WI   Marquette High had 933-977 students, all male.


Omaha archbishop was Gerald Thomas Bergan (1948-1969).

1962 Creighton University Omaha NE  


Fairbanks bishop was Francis Doyle Gleason, s.j. (1948-1968).

1965 Holy Cross Mission

Holy Cross

• Nawn was accused in a 2004 lawsuit of sexually abusing a 13 or 14-year-old boy in the summer of 1963 or 1964 while assigned to Holy Cross. His accuser said the abuse occurred when Nawn was serving as village priest for several weeks in Sheldon Point, AK. (Sheldon Point later became known as Nunam Iqua.) Nawn was said to have invited the boy to spend the night with him at the rectory and that the boy was "sexually abused, harassed, humiliated and assaulted."

• In a 2005 lawsuit, a man said Nawn fondled him in in Sheldon Point in 1963 or 1964, when he was 4 or 5-years-old and again when he was 10 to 16 years-old.

AK 2/2 Holy Cross Mission had a grade school with 74 students, and a high school with 15 students.
1962 1965   Pimute, Flat, Shageluk, Railroad City, Holikachuk AK   These were stations of Holy Cross Mission.
1964 1968 Sacred Heart Chevak AK 1/1  
1964 1968   Newktok, Scammon Bay     These were stations of Sacred Heart in Chevak.


Gleason was succeeded by Robert Louis Whelan, s.j. (1968-1985).

1980 St. Ignatius


• Nawn was accused in a 2005 lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy during 1971-1972 when the boy was ages 5-7 and a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Church in Scammon Bay. His accuser said Nawn would give him hard candy after the abuse.

AK 1/1 In his book, Catholic Americana: A History of the Catholic Church in Alaska, Louis Renner, s.j. writes, "The children especially were very much drawn to [Nawn] and were relentless visitors. He played games with them, went skating with them."
1968 1980 St. Peter's

Sheldon Point (Nunam Iqua)

• Nawn was accused in another claim of abusing a Sheldon Point boy beginning in 1968 when the boy was 9 and until he was 13 years old.

• In one claim a woman described sexual by Nawn of her and other girls in Sheldon Point from 1968-1971, when the woman was 6 to 9 years old. She said Nawn would fondle her and make her touch him, and take nude pictures of her and other girls.

• Another accuser said Nawn sexually abused him in Sheldon Point from 1972 to 1977, when he was a 7 to 12-year-old altar boy. Nawn reportedly would engage the boys in wrestling matches, grab their genitals and have them grab his. He is said to have fondled the boys and to have performed oral sex on at least one of them. Also, his accusers said Nawn would make boys lie on top of girls and simulate sex in his living area, and that he told each boy that it would be a sin to tell, then give them pop and candy.

AK   This was a station of St. Ignatius in Alakanuk.


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

1981 Fordham University New York NY sabbatical  


Fairbanks diocese

1983 St. Ignatius Alakanuk AK 1/1  
1981 1983   Sheldon Point (Nunam Iqua), St. Mary AK   These were stations of St. Ignatius in Alakanuk.


Whelan was replaced as Fairbanks bishop by Michael Joseph Kaniecki, s.j. (1985-2000).

1987 St. Michael's St. Michael AK 1/1  
1983 1987   Stebbins, St. Bernard AK   These were stations of St. Michael's.
1987 1988 St. Mary's Mission Center St. Mary's AK    


Seattle archbishop was Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen (1975-1991).

1989 Bellarmine High School Community Tacoma WA helped out in various parishes  
1989 1992 Loyola Hall Infirmary at Seattle University Seattle WA    


Spokane bishop was William Stephen Skylstad (1990-2010).

  Jesuit House Infirmary at Gonzaga University Spokane WA   Nawn died Oct. 1, 1992


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1952-1992)

Emmonak - Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Diocese Of Fairbanks
Alakanuk - Saint Ignatius Catholic Church, Diocese Of Fairbanks
More Priests Accused of Abuse, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner , December 29, 2004
Abuse Claims Breathe Life into Dead Priests' Past, Lawsuit: Plaintiff Says Catholic Church Protected Men Who Molested Him, By Nicole Tsong, Anchorage Daily News, December 30, 2004
3 Join Suit, Claim Abuse, Priest Accused: Now-Deceased Jesuit Molested Them, Men Say, By Nicole Tsong, Anchorage Daily News,
January 14, 2005
Two More File Claims against Jesuit Priest, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, April 1, 2005
Four More Say They Were Abused by Priests, Lawsuit: Three Men, One Woman Bring Number of Plaintiffs to 10, By Lisa Demer, Anchorage Daily News, August 17, 2005
More Victims Added to Priest Abuse Lawsuit, By Mary Beth Smetzer , Fairbanks News-Miner [Alaska] , August 17, 2005
Jesuit Abuse Settlement Aims to Heal, $50 Million: Religious Order's Head Says Church Failed Victims in Alaska, By Lisa Demer,
Anchorage Daily News, November 20, 2007
More Plaintiffs Join Abuse Lawsuit Against Jesuits, By Tim Klass, Associated Press, February 5, 2009
Excerpt from Bankruptcy Reorganization Documents for Fairbanks Diocese, Jan. 25, 2010, p. 1
Alaskana Catholica: A History of the Catholic Church in Alaska, by Louis Renner, s.j.

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 Nawn'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. 15, 2014.