Assignment Record– Rev. Richard T. Coughlin

Summary of Case: Richard T. Coughlin was ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1953. He assisted in parishes in
Stoneham and Lynn MA before transferring in 1965 to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he was incardinated in 1971.
There he assisted in Santa Ana, Anaheim and Costa Mesa parishes. He also taught at St. Michael's Norbertine Junior Seminary
in Orange for many years. In 1970 Coughlin founded the All-American Boys Choir, which was not funded by or affiliated with
the Church. The choir traveled internationally and performed for Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. Coughlin was excardinated from
Los Angeles to the newly established diocese of Orange CA in 1976.

In 1985 a MA man reported to the Rev. John McCormack of the Boston archdiocese that Coughlin had molested him as a boy
from 1958-1962. He said the abuse occurred in MA and on trips to NH and NY. In December 1992 four men reported separately
that Coughlin had molested them as boys. The men were ages 23-45, and all had been Boys Choir members between 1970 and
1983. One said his father told the Los Angeles archdiocese of the abuse in 1974, and to choir board members in 1990. Also in
December 1992 the man who had reported Coughlin in 1985 again went to Rev. McCormack in Boston with his allegations. He
was initially told that there was no record of his previous report; in April 1993 McCormack informed him that the complaint was
found and that Bishop Banks had forwarded it to the Diocese of Orange. Orange officials maintained in 2002 that they never received
it. In February 1993 another man, who was a Boys Choir member 1977-1980, reported abuse by Coughlin. He said he told choir
management in 1979 that Coughlin was abusing him and two other boys. In April 2002 a man reported to the Oklahoma City
archdiocese "inappropriate conduct" by Coughlin 1968-1971; the report was forwarded to Los Angeles. In December 2002 Coughlin
was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in Lynn MA during 1962-1965.

Coughlin was suspended from ministry in January 1993 and ordered to sever ties with the Boys Choir. In 2016 he is permanently
from ministry.

Born: June 13, 1924
Ordained: September 29, 1953
January 1993


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

2/15/60 St. Patrick's


A Massachusetts man reported to the Boston archdiocese in 1985 that Coughlin sexually abused him beginning when he was 11 years-old, from 1958 to 1962. He said the abuse involved fondling and that it first occurred in Coughlin's car after CYO basketball games. He said he Coughlin also abused him at a cottage in Alton, NH, Lake George in NY, New York City and Cape Cod.

MA Assistant The man said that he relayed his accusations to Rev.
John B. McCormack at the Boston chancery in November 1985. He met with McCormack again in December 1992, but McCormack said he didn't remember the 1985 meeting and couldn't find a record of the complaint. In April 1993 McCormack informed the man that the file was found and it showed that Bishop Banks relayed the complaint to the Orange diocese in March 1986. The Orange diocese maintained in 2002 that it did not receive the complaint.


6/14/65 St. Mary's


Coughlin was accused in a December 2002 civil lawsuit of sexually abusing "John Doe No. 3" during 1962-1965 at St. Mary's.

MA Assistant  


Los Angeles archbishop was James Francis Aloysius McIntyre (1948-1970).

9/13/67 Immaculate Heart of Mary Santa Ana CA Assistant  


McIntyre was succeeded by Timothy Finbar Manning (1970-1985).

1972 St. Anthony Claret


In April 2002 a man reported to the Oklahoma City archdiocese "inappropriate conduct" by Coughlin during 1968-1971. Oklahoma City forwarded the complaint the Los Angeles archdiocese.

CA Assistant Coughlin was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Los Angeles February 25, 1971.
1972 1974 St. John the Baptist Costa Mesa CA Assistant  


The Diocese of Orange was established in 1976. Its bishop was William Robert Johnson (1976-1986), followed by Tod David Brown (1998-2012).

1989 St. Michael's Norbertine Junior Seminary Orange CA  

Coughlin was excardinated from the Los Angeles archdiocese June 18, 1976. Boston archdiocesan officials in 1993 said they informed the Orange diocese of sexual abuse complaints against Coughlin in 1985. Orange officials said they had no such record.

1985 1988         Coughlin is not indexed in the 1986-1988 Directories. Per news reports he was still at St. Michael's.
1970 1992 All-America Boys' Choir

Costa Mesa

In 1992 five men, ages 23-45, came forward separately to report that Coughlin had molested them as boys 10-30 years previously. Four of the men said they were members of the the Boys' Choir between 1970 and 1983 when they were molested. Coughlin denied the accusations.

Another former choir member emerged in February 1993, alleging Coughlin kissed him passionately on the lips many times and fondled him a few times during choir bus trips. His accuser was a choir member 1977-1980 and said the abuse happened when he was 13 or 14 years old. He said he told choir management in 1979, and that two other boys were also being abused by Coughlin.


Coughlin founded this chorus for boys ages 9-14 in 1970. It toured world-wide and performed for Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. It was not church- funded affiliated.

One of the men who came forward in late 1992 said his father reported the allegations to the Los Angeles archdiocese in 1974, and to choir board members in 1990.

The man who came forward in February 1993 said he told a priest in 1989 about his molestation, and that the priest encouraged him to confront Coughlin.

1992 2003 On Leave      

Coughlin was suspended from ministry in January 1993 and ordered to sever ties with his chorus after five men alleged separately that he sexually abused them as boys from 10 to 30 years previously.

Per the Boston archdiocese's website in 2011, Coughlin is permanently restricted from ministry.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons)\Ma

McCormack memo re Coughlin, November 30, 1985
Articles on Coughlin from Boston archives,
Boston Victim's Account, legal affidavit, 1992
O.C. Priest Accused by Five Ex-Choir Members, Suspension: Men Who Sang in Father Coughlin's All-American Boys Chorus Claim He Molested Them. Priest Denies the Charges, By Eric Young and Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times [Costa Mesa], February 10, 1993
Man Describes Molestation during Years in Boys' Chorus, Accusations: His Statements Are the First Indication That Allegations against Father Coughlin Go beyond Five Men Cited in Diocese's Investigation, By David Haldane, Los Angeles Times, February 13, 1993
Archdiocese Says Priest's File Found, By James L. Franklin, Boston Globe, April 3, 1993
Ex-California Bishop: Priest Warning Never Came, By Maggie Mulvihill, Boston Herald, March 17, 2002
The Accused, USA Today, November 11, 2002
John Doe Nos 1-29 and Mary Roe Nos. vs 1-5 vs RCAB, Bernard Law et al, December 13, 2002
NH Attorney General's Report, March 3, 2003
Diocese of Orange News Release, January 10, 2004
Church IDs 15 Abusive Priests, By Ray F. Herndon, Los Angeles Times [California], Downloaded January 11, 2004
L.A. Archdiocesan Report, February 17, 2004
Hide the Buggering Priests! A Brief History of Pedophilic-Priest Shuffling in the Diocese of Orange, By Gustavo Arellano, Orange County Weekly, July 9, 2004
Boston archives, Pattern and Practice, 2004
Ex Cathedra: Personnel Bile No. 7: the Choir Master, By Gustavo Arellano , Orange County Weekly, April 14, 2005
Allegations against 3 Priests Costly for Diocese of Orange, By Chris Knap , The Orange County Register [California] , May 17, 2005
Million-Dollar Settlements, By Chris Knap, Orange County Register, May 17, 2005
Coughlin Assignment Record, Archdiocese of Boston
Addendum to Report to the People of God, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, November 11, 2005
Accused Priests of the Orange Diocese, Assignments as Reported in the Official Catholic Directory, compiled by Gustavo Arellan, posted in the OC Weekly, March 4, 2005
Los Angeles Times Database, April 20, 2006
Publication With Respect to Archdiocesan Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child,, August 25, 2011
Coughlin Documents,

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 Coughlin'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 January 18, 2016.