Assignment Record– Rev. William C. O'Connell

Ordained: 1950

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Bishop of Providence was Russell J. McVinney (1948-1971), replaced in Louis E. Gelineau (1971-1997).

1952 St. Francis Wakefield RI


O'Connell worked under Rev. James E. Greenan.

1950 1952 St. Romuald's Matanuck RI   St. Romuald's was a summer mission of St. Francis parish.
1952 1953 St. Brendan's Riverside RI


Other priests were Rev. William J. Tierney (Pastor) and Rev. Charles F. Dolan.

St. Brendan's had a school with 153 boys and 156 girls.
1953 1958 U.S. Navy     Chaplain Listed in Directories as Navy Reserve Chaplain on Active Duty.
1958 1961 SS Peter and Paul West Warwick RI


Pastor 1959-1960 was Msgr. John J. Kenny and from 1959-1961 was Rev. Edmund l. Mullen.

Parish had a school with 145-137 boys and 120-133 girls.
1961 1966 St. Mary's Providence RI


Pastor during these years was Msgr. Charles J. Mahoney. Second priest 1961-1964 was Rev. William E. Palmer, replaced 1964-1966 by Rev. John P. Condon.

St. Mary's had an elementary school with 344 boys and 300 girls, and a high school with 250 girls.

1966 1967 St. Joseph's (Polish) Central Falls RI


O'Connell is listed third after Revs. Peter P. Dobek and Konrad Urbanowski.

St. Joseph's had a school with 153 boys and 125 girls.
1967 1972 Holy Ghost

North Tiverton

• In 1970 O'Connell was accused of molesting an altar boy at Holy Ghost. Promoted to pastor of St. Mary's in Bristol in 1972, despite Bishop's knowledge of the accusation (per 1998 legal complaint).



Pastor 1967-1971 was Rev. John P. Condon and was Rev. Peter G. Young 1971-1972.

Parish had a school until 1970 with 153-156 boys and 133-149 girls.
1972 1985 St. Mary's



• O'Connell was charged with sexually assaulting two boys, ages 13 and 15. He resigned as pastor of St. Mary's in February 1985 (Associated Press
February 25, 1985).



In 1974-1975 O'Connell was joined by Rev. James M. Silva. From 1977-1979, second priest was Rev. Jude McGeough, S.S.C., replaced 1979-1980 by Rev. David F. Ricard, and 1980-1982 by Rev. John J. Davey. Rev. Richard A. Bucci worked under O'Connell 1983-1985.





Silva was later convicted of sexual abuse of boys. (Providence Journal [Rhode Island]
July 18, 2005).

1972 1985 Our Lady of Prudence Prudence RI   Our Lady's was a summer mission of St. Mary's.
1972 1985 Hog Island   RI   Hog Island was a summer station of St. Mary's.
1985 1986 Absent on leave • O'Connell pleaded no contest to sex assaults on about a dozen boys, ages 12-17. He was sentenced in June 1986 to five years in prison; all but one of those years was suspended. He was to serve four years probation after release and attend two years of counseling at St. Luke's Institue in MD. (Associated Press
June 24, 1986)


Bishop of Camden NJ was George Henry Guilfoyle (1968-1989) followed by James Thomas McHugh (1989-1998).

1996 Retired


• After he served time in a work release program, OConnell moved to New Jersey. He was accused of abusing boys in 1993 and 1994 while a volunteer at Our Lady Start of the Sea in Cape May (Philadelphia Inquirer July 21, 2002).



O'Connell no longer appears in the Official Catholic Directories after 1994.

He died May 12, 1996.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1951-1995).

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.


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