Rev. Donald Rooney

Summary of Case: Rooney was accused of having molested at least 25 girls in the 1980s, typically during confession, during altar serving training, and training for Confirmation. He died of a self inflicted gunshot wound in April 2002 after being summoned to the Chancery to discuss allegations of abuse against him.

: 1979


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Cleveland bishop was James Aloysius Hickey (1974-1980), followed by Anthony Michael Pilla (1980-2006)

1984 Sacred Heart of Jesus


• In 2002 a woman reported to the diocese that Rooney had sexually abused her when she was a child in 1980. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
April 5, 2002)


2/2, 3/3

Parish had a school with 238-197 students.
1984 1989 St. Patrick's


• A second allegation surfaced in 2002 by a woman who said Rooney molested her in the mid 1980s when she was a seventh grader at St. Patrick's. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
April 6, 2002)

• In a 2002 lawsuit, a woman claimed that Rooney molested her and about 20 other girls in her class who were in training to become altar servers at St. Patrick's during the 1984-1985 school year. The woman stated that she told one of her teachers of the abuse. (Akron Beacon Journal [Ohio]
June 20, 2002)

OH 2/5, 2/4 Parish had a school with 921-757 students.
1989 1991 St. Margaret's South Euclid OH 3/3 Parish had a school with 241 students.
1991 1997? St. Columbkille's Parma OH 2/3, 3/4 Parish had a school with 619-650 student, and a CCD program with 391-413 students.
The 1996 and 1997 Directories list Rooney in the Cleveland diocesan pages as at St. Columbkille's, but they do not index him as there.
1995 1996 St. Francis de Sales Parma OH



Rooney is indexed but not listed here in the Cleveland diocesan pages of the 1996 Directory.The parish had a school with 601 students and a CCD program with 832 students.
1996 1998 St. John Vianney's Mentor OH 3/3 Parish had a CCD program with 1,255-1,112 students.


Sante Fe bishop was Michael Jarboe Sheehan (1993- )

1999 Sangre De Cristo Albuquerque NM  

Parish had a CCD program with 304 students.

Rooney is listed as at this parish in the Cleveland diocesan pages, but is not listed there in the Santa Fe diocesan pages. Per news reports, he was granted permission to live in New Mexico to care for his ailing father. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
April 6, 2002)

1999 2002 St. Anthony of Padua Parma OH 2/2

Parish had a school with 502-508 students, and a CCD program with 323-355 students.

Rooney died of a self inflicted gunshot wound April 4, 2002, just after being summoned to the Chancery to discuss allegations of abuse against him. (Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
April 6, 2002)

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1980-2002)

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 Rooney'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 Dec. 3, 2009

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