Assignment Record– Rev. John Thomas Sullivan
Summary of Case: John Thomas Sullivan was ordained for the Manchester NH diocese in 1942. By 1949 he had impregnated a teenage girl, arranging for an illegal abortion. The girl was hospitalized and the pregnancy continued. He was suspended in 1952 due to "improper advances toward young women." He was also accused of stalking a nursing student. Sullivan was suspended by the diocese again in 1956, responsible for another pregnancy and an abortion. He was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete's Via Coeli in Jemez Springs NM for treatment.
Sullvan was allowed to serve briefly in the Gallup diocese, in Winslow AZ in the mid-1950s. In 1958 he was assigned to the Diocese of Grand Rapids MI, where he worked in several parishes. By 2002 six women had alleged sexual abuse by Sullivan in Grand Rapids when they were girls; three of them were sisters, ages 7-12. After a few years in MI, Sullivan was assigned to parishes in WI, TX, and NM, then ministered again in AZ, in the Gallup and Phoenix dioceses, from 1960 to 1980.
In 1981 Sullivan retired, after pleading no contest to attempted sexual abuse of a girl from St. Margaret Mary's in Bullhead City AZ, where he was pastor. Three other girls from that parish are known to have alleged abuse by Sullivan. He returned to NH where he was stripped of his priestly faculties in 1983 for kissing a 13-year-old girl and making unwanted advances on another teen girl. Sullivan relocated again to AZ, then moved to an assisted living center in San Diego CA in 1988. He died September 19, 1999.
Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1943-2000).
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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