Rev. Joseph E. Savage– Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Savage was accused in 2002 and 2003 of having sexually abused numerous Wisconsin children, both boys and girls, in the 1950s. He also may have been forced to resign from an Illinois parish in 1936 for sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy. His victims were said to have been between the ages of 8 and 16. Savage died in 1974.

: March 16, 1918
Died: June 22, 1974


Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Chicago archbishop was George William Mndelein (1915-1939).

1922 St. Andrew's Chicago IL 2/2 Parish had a school with 630-650 students, and an all girls' high school.
1922 1923 St. Mark's Chicago IL 2/2 Parish had a school with 260 students.
1923 1924 Immaculate Conception Elmhurst IL 2/2 Parish had a school with 217 students.
1923 1924 Villa Park Elmhurst IL   This was a mission of Immaculate Conception.
1924 1927 St. John Berchmans (Belgian) Chicago IL 2/2 Parish had a school with 290-307 students.
June 20,1927 Nov. 10, 1927 St. Mary's Minooka IL administrator This assignment is per St. Mary's website, Feb. 2011 (, as well as that of Holy Cross in Deerfield (
Nov. 10, 1927 Dec. 12, 1931 St. Patrick's Wadsworth IL 1/1  
1927 1931 Druce Lake   IL   This was a mission of St. Patrick's in Wadsworth.
Dec. 12, 1931 Dec. 30, 1936 Holy Cross


• Savage may have been forced to resign in 1936 due to allegations that he sexually abused a 14-year-old boy. (Kenosha News, October 19, 2013)

IL 1/1 Parish had a school beginning in 1937 with 51 students.
Dec. 30, 1936 1938        

In the 1937 and 1938 Directories, Savage is indexed at the address for Holy Cross in Deerfield, but is not listed there in the Chicago archdiocesan pages.

Per the Holy Cross parish website in 2011, Savage retired in Dec. 1936. The Directories indicate he was absent with leave from 1938-1960, and wasn't noted to be retired until 1960.


Samuel Alphonsius Stritch succeeded Mundelein (1939-1958), followed by Albert Gregory Meyer (1958-1965).

1960 Absent with Leave       Savage may have been sent to a "northern Wisconsin" diocese.


Milwaukee archbishops in the 1950s were Moses Elias Kiley (1940-1953), Albert Gregory Meyer (1953-1958), and William Edward Cousins (1958-1977).

  Holy Name of Jesus


• Accused in 2002 and 2003 of having sexually abused at least five children in the 1950s at this parish, both boys and girls. His accusers said Savage would have boys spend the night with him. He would also take boys with him on mission trips to such places as Alaska, California and Florida, where he would abuse them individually and in groups. One accuser said she was 9- and 10- years-old at the time Savage molested her. Another said he was about 8- years-old when abused. He said, too, that police caught Savage with him and three other boys in a hotel room in Milwaukee, and that he was told at school the next Monday not to tell anyone. (Kenosha News, October 19, 2013.)

WI   Directories in the 1950s do not list Savage at this parish.


Replacing Meyer was John Patrick Cody (1965-1982).

1974 Retired Antioch IL  

The 1970-1974 Directories list Savage as at 995 S. Main St., Antioch IL.

Savage died June 22, 1974


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1919-1975 )

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 Savage's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with ... as it is 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 6, 2017.