Assignment Record– Bishop Daniel Leo Ryan

Summary of Case
: Ordained a priest of the Joliet diocese in 1956, Ryan held a number of chancery positions before being appointed auxiliary bishop in 1981. In 1983 he was elevated to Bishop of Springfield, IL where he served until his abrupt retirement in 1999, at age 69. His retirement was announced the day after a civil lawsuit was filed which claimed Ryan knew one of his priest was sexually abusing a child, but did nothing. Ryan had long been the subject of rumors that he engaged in "sexual improprieties" with adult men, including prostitutes and priests. In 1986 Ryan announced he was an alcoholic and underwent three months of treatment. He stepped down from public ministry in 2002 after accusations surfaced that he had sexually abused a 15 year-old boy in 1984. He was last known to be living in an assisted living facility in Joliet. Ryan died in December 2015.

Ordained: May 3, 1956
Consecrated: Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet IL, Sept. 30, 1981
Appointed: Bishop of Springfield IL, Nov. 22, 1983
Retired: October 19, 1999
Died: December 31, 2015


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


Joliet bishop was Martin Dewey McNamara (1948-1966).

1958 St. Paul the Apostle Joliet IL 2/2 St. Paul's had a school with 375-423 students.
1958 1968   Rome Italy student  
1960 1963 St. Joseph's Rockdale IL 2/2, 3/3

In residence.
St. Joseph's had a school with 234-229 students.
1960 1963 Diocesan Notary Joliet IL    
1960 1965 Diocesan Actuary Joliet IL    
1963 1965 St. Mary Nativity Joliet   2/2

In residence.
St. Mary's had a school with 345-366 students.


Romeo Roy Blanchette succeeded McNamara (1966-1979).

Seminary Board Joliet IL Executive Director 1975-1977  
1963 1965 Assistant Chancellor Joliet IL    
1965 1979 St. Thaddeus' Joliet IL 2/2 In residence 1965-1973. Pastor 1973-1979 (First priest listed was Pastor Emeritus). St. Thaddeus' had a school with 170-108 students.
1964 1969 Synodal Examiners and Parish Priest Consultors Joliet IL    
1965 1978 Chancellor Joliet IL    


Joseph Leopold Imesch replaced Blanchette as Joliet bishop (1979-2006).

1983 Auxiliary Bishop Joliet IL   Ryan was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Joliet August 13, 1981, and was consecrated September 30, 1981
1977 1983 Vicars General Joliet IL    
1978 1983 Personnel Advisors

Joliet IL    
1979 1982 St. Michael's Wheaton IL 1/2, 1/3 St. Michael's had a school with 415-551 students.
1982 1983 Montini High School Lombard IL   The 1983 Directory indexes Ryan's residence as 19 W. 070 16th St., Lombard, IL. A 2012 google search shows this to be the address for Montini High School.


Daniel L. Ryan was Springfield bishop (1983-1999).

1999 Bishop


Ryan was accused in a 1999 lawsuit of having solicited sex from a 15 year-old boy in 1984. The accusations became public in 2002. The bishop allegedly offered the boy a ride in his car, took him to the rectory of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, offered the boy $50.00 to take off his clothes and to let Ryan massage him with baby oil. Ryan's accuser said the bishop offered him a ride a subsequent time, but the boy declined. Ryan denied the allegations.

Another man accused Ryan in 1999 of having paid him for sex when the man was a 16 and 17 year-old boy, and that he accompanied the bishop on trips through the 1980s and into the late 1990s.

A former priest of the diocese of Springfield complained in 2002 that Ryan harrassed him sexually when he was a seminarian; he said he was afraid to refuse Ryan's advances because he wanted to be ordained. The man also said he and the bishop traveled together extensively before and after the man's ordination, and that the sexual encounters occurred from 1984-1988.


Ryan was named Bishop of Springfield, IL November 22, 1983. He was installed January 18, 1984.

In 1986 Ryan announced he was an alcoholic and attended a treatment program for three months.


In 1997 and again in 1999 Ryan denied reports that he had engaged in "sexual impropriety".

October 1999 September 2002 Retired Springfield IL  

Ryan abruptly retired in October 1999, at the age of 69, the day after he was accused in a civil lawsuit of knowing that one of his priests had abused a young male, but doing nothing about it.

Ryan went to live in Springfield's home for retired priests. He worked as a substitute for vacationing priests, said mass for sisters in convents, and presided over confirmations in the Springfield and Joliet dioceses.

September 2002 December 2015   Joliet IL  

Ryan stepped down from public ministry in September 2002 after the allegation surfaced that he had sexually abused a 14 or 15-year-old boy in 1984.

A diocesan investigation concluded in 2006 that "Ryan engaged in sexual misconduct with adults and used his authority to conceal this misconduct."

As of 2006 Ryan was living at an assisted living facility in Joliet.

Ryan died December 31, 2015.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1957-1983)

Bishop Steps down, Threatened Suit Not a Factor, Diocese Says, By Ralph Loos and Sean Dailey, State Journal-Register(Springfield, IL), October 20, 1999
Former Altar Boy Accuses Springfield Diocese of Allowing Child Abuse, By Christopher Wills, Associated Press State & Local Wire [Springfield Ill], October 28, 1999
Diocese, Ex-Bishop Ryan Sued / Morrisonville Priest's Alleged Abuse of Boy in '80s at Center of Case, By Jason Piscia Staff Writer
State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL), October 29, 1999
Will Truth about Bishop Ever Be Known?, By Jason Piscia, State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL), October 31, 1999
Worst Kept Secrets, Sexual Abuse Cases: Plenty of Public Information on 15 Joliet Diocese Priests, By Ted Slowik, Herald News, May 5, 2002
Cloak of Secrecy, Men Alleging They Were Abused by Joliet Diocese Priests Step Forward with Their Stories, By Ted Slowik, Herald News, August 11, 2002
Former Bishop Investigated, By Lisa Kernek, State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL), August 15, 2002
Illinois Bishop Is Accused of Sexually Abusing a Minor, Bishop Ryan Denies Charge That He Abused Boy Once in 1980s, By PatriciaRice, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), September 4, 2002
Abuse Victims Get $3 Million, Springfield Diocese Reaches Settlement, By Lisa Kernek, State Journal-Register, February 3, 2004
Priestly Misconduct Found, Former Bishop Among Four Cited by Name, By Dave Bakke, State Journal-Register [Springfield IL], August 3, 2006 list of U.S. Bishops Accused of Abuse April 14, 2008
Second bishop with Joliet ties, Daniel Ryan, dies, The Herald-News [Joliet], January 4, 2016

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 Ryan'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 August 7, 2016.