Assignment Record – Rev. John J. Whiteley

Summary of Case: A priest of the Jefferson City diocese ordained in 1967, Whiteley was a parish priest as well as a college and Army reserve chaplain. He was accused in a 1991 lawsuit of abusing David Clohessy from 1969 to 1973, beginning when David was about age twelve. The abuse is said to have involved the priest touching the boy's genitals and lying on top of him during trips; some of the trips were out-of-state. Whiteley allegedly abused at least five others, including Clohessy's brother Kevin, later a priest and himself accused of abuse. Whiteley held a chancery job in 1991. He resigned and disappeared in 1992. The lawsuit against him was dismissed 1992 after a Missouri supreme court decision on a new statute of limitations law. Whiteley reportedly went on to work as a flight attendant. David Clohessy became long-time executive director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Ordained: 1967


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Bishop of Jefferson City was Joseph Mary Marling (1956-1969).

1968 St. Patrick's Rolla MO


Parish had a school with 242 students.
1968 1969 Missouri University at Rolla-Newman Center Rolla MO 1/1



Michael Francis McAuliffe replaced Marling as bishop (1969-1997).

1970 St. Pius X


Sued in 1991 by David Clohessy, who reported that he had been sexually abused as a child by when Whiteley was assigned to St. Pius X. The abuse was said to have occurred over a four year period, when Clohessy was ages 12-16. The case was thrown out due to the statute of limitations.

Clohessy's brother, Kevin, who was a priest, has been accused of molesting college students. David believes Kevin was also molested by Whiteley as a boy. David Clohessy went on to become a national advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse as the Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

MO 2/3 St. Pius X had a school with 24 students.
1970 1976 Mary Immaculate Kirksville MO 2/2

Mary Immacuate had a school with 62-83 students.

1970 1976 St. Rose's Novinger MO   St. Rose's was a mission of Mary Immaculate in Kirksville.
1970 1974 St. Mary's Adair MO   St. Mary's was a mission of Mary Immaculate in Kirksville.
1976 1978 St. Joseph's Rhineland MO 1/1  
1977 1978 St. Martin's Starkenburg MO   St. Martin's was a mission of St. Joseph's in Rhineland.
1978 1980 Church of the Risen Savior Rhineland MO 1/1  
1978 1980 Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows Starkenburg MO   This was a mission of Church of the Risen Savior in Rhineland.
1980 1981 On Sick Leave        
1981 1983 St. Patrick's


Whiteley is said to have molested young boys at St. Patrick's and that there were known to have been six victims between this parish and St. Pius X in Moberly.




Listed as "in residence" in the 1982 Directory.

St. Patrick's had a school with 172-159 students.

1983 1991 Columbia Newman Center, University of Missouri Columbia MO Associate Director  
1985   U.S. Army Columbia MO Chaplain Whiteley joined the 5503rd reserve unit in 1985.
  1991 Fulton State Hospital Fulton MO Chaplain  
  1991 University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics Columbia MO Chaplain  
1991 1992         Whiteley is not indexed in the 1992 Directory.
1992 1994 Absent on leave      

Whiteley is no longer indexed in the Directories after 1994.

He reportedly left the priesthood and became a flight attendant.

David Clohessy bacame long-time executive director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1968-1994).

[Whiteley at the Newman Center], By David O’Grady, Columbia Missourian, September 7, 1990
Former Rolla Priest Facing Sex Charges, by Angela Middleton, Rolla Daily News, Aug. 2, 1991
Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse Placed on Leave, by Christopher Diedoardo, Columbia Missourian, Aug. 4, 1991
Dangers of Censorship, Just look at the 'John Z .Doe' Case, Columbia Daily Tribune, Aug. 6, 1991
Church Answers Sex Laws, Diocese Seeks Dismissal; Priest Won't Comment, Columbia Daily Tribune, Sept. 6, 1991
Lawyer Argues Church Can't be Sued, by Christopher Diedoardo, Columbia Missourian, Sept. 6, 1991
'John Doe' in Suit Alleging Abuse by Priest Goes Public, Plaintiff Hopes to Foster Understanding, by George Mazurak, Columbia Daily Tribune, Sept. 12, 1991
'John Doe' Goes Public, Good for Him, and Good for the System, Columbia Daily Tribune, Sept. 19, 1991
Church Sexual Abuse Policy Criticized, by Christopher Diedoardo, Columbia Missourian, Feb. 9, 1992
Extension Granted in Suit Against Church, Priests, by George Mazurak, Columbia Daily Tribune, Feb. 15, 1992
Case Tests Child Abuse Amendments, by Christopher Diedoardo, Columbia Missourian, Feb. 17, 1992
Priest Accused of Abuse Was Given Parish Job, by Patricia Rice, Post-Dispatch, April 8, 2002
Am I My Brother's Keeper?, By Frank Bruni and Elinor Burkett, New York Times, May 12, 2002
Priest Scandal Puts Focus on Victims' Advocate, by Dawn Fallik, Post-Dispatch, May 12, 2002
Mother Superior Court
The Kansas City Catholic Diocese Finds Itself Fighting a Slew of New Lawsuits over Abuse of Parishioners All Filed by One Determined Lawyer, By Kendrick Blackwood, The Pitch [Kansas City], October 16, 2003
In the Trenches, by David Clohessy, Journal of Religion and Abuse, June 2, 2004
Thy Child's Face, April 2010

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.

This assignment record collates Whiteley'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 Aug. 9, 2014.


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