Assignment Record– Rev. Eugene M. O'Sullivan
Summary of Case: There are multiple accusations of sexual abuse of altar boys against O'Sullivan throughout his career, dating to at least 1964. He was also accused of having sexually abused two nephews over many years. He was transferred within the Boston archdiocese each time accusations surfaced. He was convicted in 1984 of raping a boy in Massachusetts, and transferred in 1985 by Cardinal Law to the diocese of Metuchen, NJ. O'Sullivan was brought back to Massachusetts in 1992, where he was allowed to continue to wear a Roman collar. He was defrocked in 2005.
Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).
|9/03/62||St. John Vianney||Revere||MA||2/2|
|9/04/62||7/15/63||Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted||
• Church authorities knew O'Sullivan was molesting altar boys at this parish. (Boston Globe
• A 1964 letter in O'Sullivan's personnel file reveals a complaint from the parent of a St. Ann's altar boy that O'Sullivan had molested her son and other boys at the parish. She also wrote that "Fr. Finn refused to do anything.". (Boston Globe
|MA||2/2||Finn was the St. Ann's pastor. He had told the boy's parents that he would notify the archdiocese about their concerns, but they later found out he had not done so. Cushing transferred O'Sullivan subsequent to receiving the parents' letter. (Boston Herald
June 5, 2002)
|2/23/65||6/08/70||Our Lady of the Assumption||
Boston (East Boston)
• Within months of O'Sullivan's transfer to this parish, there were "reports of incidents with a couple of altar boys." This is per a 1984 letter in O'Sullivan's personnel file by then Rev. Robert J. Banks. (Boston Globe
|MA||2/3, 2/2, 3/3||Parish had a school with 148-109 boys and 162-121 girls.|
Cushing was succeeded by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983), followed by Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002).
• O'Sullivan was convicted in 1984 of raping a St. Agnes altar boy. The abuse started when the boy was 13, and continued for two years. (Boston Globe
• O'Sullivan's nephew, Sean, disclosed in a 1993 news report that O'Sullivan sexually abused him for nine years, when he was nine years old (in approximately 1971), and that he had also abused his brother (who died in 1989) before that, when the brother was as young as six years old. (Boston Globe
|MA||4/4, 3/3, 3/4||O'Sullivan was sentenced to five years probation, with the stipulation that he be assigned "where he has no contact with young people". (Boston Globe
July 16, 1993)
|11/01/84||9/26/85||Absent on Sick Leave||O'Sullivan was sent to Canada for treatment. (Post-Crescent [Green Bay WI]
August 23, 2003)
Metuchen bishop was Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1981-1986), followed by Edward Thomas Hughes (1986-1997).
|1987||St. Joseph's||North Plainfield||NJ||3/3||
Parish had a school with 231 students.
Cardinal Law transferred O'Sullivan to the Metuchen diocese, where he served at four parishes over the next seven years. Pastors of three of the four parishes were not aware of O'Sullivan's history of molesting children. (Boston Globe
The Boston archdiocese's assignment history for O'Sullivan says his status 9/27/85-6/30/92 was "Non-Parish Ministry, Missionaries-Other Diocese."
O'Sullivan was not restricted in terms of contact with children while in New Jersey. He was involved in parish religious education and a youth group. (Boston Globe
|1987||1989||On Duty Outside the Diocese||NJ||Neither the 1988 nor the 1989 Directories indicate in the indexes where O'Sullivan was on duty.|
|1991||Mary, Mother of God||Hillsboro||NJ||2/2|
|1991||1992||St. Bartholomew||East Brunswick||NJ||2/4||Parish had a school with 390 students.|
A phone number for O'Sullivan indexed in the 1993 Directory is for the rectory of Our Lady of Assumption in Chelsea, MA, per a 2010 google search. The 1993 Directory, however, does not list Sullivan there in the Boston archdiocesan pages.
In a 1993 memo, in an effort to defend his 1985 decision to transfer O'Sullivan to New Jersey, Cardinal Law proposed that he say in a news conference that "No previous reports have been [received]" of sex abuse of children by O'Sullivan. However, Bishop Alfred C. Hughes wrote in the memo's margin, "Certain? There were previous reports." (Boston Globe
|Carney Hospital||Boston (Dorchester)||MA|
|1997||Awaiting Assignment||MA||O'Sullivan is indexed twice in the 1994-1996 Directories, once as On Duty Outside, and once as Awaiting Assignment.|
|2005||Retired; Senior Priests||MA||
O'Sullivan is last indexed in the 2006 Directory.
O' Sullivan was defrocked in 2005. (The Patriot Ledger, October 20, 2008)
Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1960-2006); O'Sullivan Assignment History, Archdiocese of Boston
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 O'Sullivan'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 June 16, 2010.
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