Rev. John H. Sutton—Assignment History
aka Rev. Hugh John Sutton and Rev. Hugh Mills Sutton

Summary of Case: Fort Worth Bishop Michael F. Olson stated in a 3/14/14 letter that the diocese had received an allegation of sexual abuse by Sutton, apparently while he worked as a chaplain and teacher at Notre Dame High School/Middle High School in Wichita Falls TX. Sutton's accuser was a former Notre Dame student who said the priest sexually abused him at the school over a two-year period in the early 1990s, beginning when the accuser was in 7th grade. Olson stated that civil authorities had been notified, and that the allegation "was found to have a semblance of truth." In September 2014 the bishop and a diocesan liaison met with the former student and his mother where they were living in WA state. Sutton's accuser later alleged that the bishop secretly recorded conversations with his mother. The man filed suit against Olsen and the diocese in March 2015.

Sutton's record in the Official Catholic Directory is an unusual one, with frequent changes in assignment, and misleading and inconsistent entries.

After a single year as a parish priest in the Pueblo diocese, Sutton was assigned as chaplain in an orphanage, in a hospital, and in the U.S. Navy (7 years), where he had served during World War II. After two more one-year parish assignments in California, he worked as a teacher and sometime chaplain at high schools in L.A. (8 years total), Guam (3 years), and Texas (8 years), with parish assignments interspersed. The principal at the Texas high school had been Sutton's colleague and superior at the L.A. high school.

Though Sutton seems to have left the Pueblo diocese for good in 1960, the Directory continued to represent him as a Pueblo priest, and after the Fort Worth assignment where he was later alleged to have abused a child, Pueblo listed him as retired. Unusually, he then continued in ministry as a parish priest in North Dakota (6 years) and as a nursing home chaplain, unofficial but with faculties.

The career history that we have assembled below from the Directory has two gaps, in 1974-1975, and in 1998-2001. A memorial web posting mentions a third stint at the LA high school, another high school appointment in Miami, and pastoral work in New Ulm. We have not been able to determine the locations and years of those assignments.

Born: June 26, 1926
Ordained: 1956
Faculties: Pueblo, Military Ordinariate, San Diego, Los Angeles (several times), Agaña, Natchez-Jackson, Little Rock, Fort Worth, Fargo, Toledo; perhaps Miami and New Ulm
Retired: 1992 from Pueblo; continued working in the Fargo and Toledo dioceses.
Died: September 11, 2004


 

Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1956

Pueblo Bishop Joseph C. Willging (1941-1959)

1957 Sacred Heart Alamosa CO • Very Rev. Msgr. Francis G. Faistl (Dean)
Rev. Hugh John Sutton
Pueblo diocese.
1957 1958 Sacred Heart Home Pueblo CO • Sister M. Michael, Supr.
Rev. Hugh John Sutton, Chap.
• Franciscan Sisters 20
• Daughters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Pueblo diocese.
Orphanage
129 children

1958

Pueblo Bishop Charles A. Buswell (1959-1979)

1960 St. Joseph's Hospital Del Norte CO • Sister M. Felicitas, Supr.
Rev. Hugh John Sutton, Chap.
• 6 Sisters of St. Joseph
Pueblo diocese.
40 bed capacity

1960

Military Ordinariate Cardinal Archbishop Francis J. Spellman (1939-1967)

1967 U.S. Navy Vietnam & the Pacific   Rev. Hugh John Sutton, Navy Reserve Chaplain on Active Duty Military ordinariate.

1967

San Diego Bishop Francis J. Furey (1959-1979)

1968 St. Vincent de Paul San Diego CA • Rt. Rev. Msgr. J. Malachy O'Sullivan
• Rev. Richard Houck
Rev. Hugh John Sutton
San Diego diocese.

1968

Los Angeles Archbishop James F. McIntyre (1948-1970) elevated to cardinal in 1953

1969 St. Anastasia Los Angeles CA • Rev. James Diamond
• Rev. John Folliard
• In res., Rev. John Sutton
Los Angeles archdiocese.

1969

Los Angeles Archbishop Timothy Manning (1970-1985) elevated to cardinal in 1973

1971 Chaminade Preparatory Canoga Park
and Chatsworth
CA 1969-1970:
• Bro. David Reeves, Superior
• Bro. John McCluskey, Prin.
• Rev. Joseph Napier SM
• Rev. Walter Bach SM
Rev. John Sutton

1970-1971:

• Bro. Frank Spaeth SM, Prin.
• Rev. Charles Oyabu SM
• Rev. Joseph Napier SM
Rev. John Sutton

Los Angeles archdiocese.

1969-1970:
Priests 3; Brothers 19; Lay Teachers 15; Students 530.

1970-1971:
Priests 3; Brothers 17; Lay Teachers 22; Students 413.

1971

Agaña Bishop Felixberto Camacho Flores (1971-1985) became archbishop in 1984 when Agaña became an archdiocese

1974 Father Dueñas Memorial School and Seminary Agaña Guam 1971-1972:
• Rev. Antonine Zimmermann OFM Cap, Prin.
• Rev. James Gavin OFM Cap, Prefect of Seminarians
• Rev. Donan Hickey OFM Cap
• Rev. Peter McCall OFM Cap
• Rev. Louis Brouillard;
Rev. John Sutton
• Very Rev. George Maddock OFM Cap.

1973-1974:

• Rev. Antonine Zimmermann OFM Cap, Prin.
• Rev. James Gavin OFM Cap, Prefect of Seminarians
• Rev. Donan Hickey OFM Cap
• Rev. Peter McCall OFM Cap
• Rev. Louis Brouillard;
Rev. John Sutton
• Rev. Tomas A. Camacho
• Very Rev. George Maddock OFM Cap.
• Brother Thomas (Marist)

Diocese of Agaña.

1971-1972:
Lay Instructors 8; Sister 1; Students 268; (Seminarians 14.)

1973-1974:
Lay Instructors 9; Sisters 3; Students 276 (Seminarians 12.)

Seminarians boarded at the school; others were day students.


1974 1975 Location unknown.       The 1975 Directory has two index entries for Sutton: one to the Pueblo diocese and another to the Agaña diocese (Guam). The Pueblo diocese pages show Sutton "on duty outside the diocese" in Guam, but the Agaña pages for 1975 no longer show Sutton at the Father Dueñas Memorial School or elsewhere on the island.

1975

Natchez-Jackson Bishop Joseph B. Brunini (1967-1984)

1976 St. Michael's Biloxi MS • Rev. John P. Robinson
• Rev. Patrick Martin
• In Res., Rev. John Sutton
Diocese of Natchez-Jackson.

1976

Los Angeles Archbishop Timothy Manning (1970-1985) elevated to cardinal in 1973

1982 Chaminade Preparatory Canoga Park
and Chatsworth
CA

1976-1977:
• Mr. Ronald M. Staley, Prin. (Canoga Park)
• Mr. David G. Reeves, Prin. (Chatsworth)
• Rev. Walter Bach SM
• Rev. Frank Campanella SM
• Rev. John McEnhill SM
Rev. John Sutton

1981-1982:
• Mr. Ronald M. Staley, Pres.
• Bro. Robert C. Maguire, Prin. (Canoga Park)
• Mr. Charles G. Fatooh, Prin. (Chatsworth)
• Rev. John F. Butkis (Brooklyn)
• Rev. Frank Campanella SM
• Rev. John McEnhill SM
Rev. John Sutton (Pueblo)
• Rev. J. Allen De Long

Accused priest Joseph Di Peri worked here 1977-1978.

Also accused is Mr. Charles G. Fatooh, who arrived as principal of Chatsworth in 1979 and was subsequently ordained.

Los Angeles archdiocese.

1976-1977:
Priests 4; Brothers 12; Lay Teachers 31; Boys 483; Girls 367.

1981-1982:
Priests 5; Brothers 6; Sisters 1; Lay Teachers 52; Boys 586; Girls 635.

1982

Little Rock Bishop Andrew J. McDonald (1972-2000)

1984 St. Francis of Assisi Forrest City AR Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton (Pueblo)
Diocese of Little Rock.
1982 1984 St. Andrew's Marianna AR Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton (Pueblo)
Diocese of Little Rock.
Mission of St. Francis

1984

Fort Worth Bishop Joseph P. Delaney (1981-2005)

1992 Notre Dame High School
reorganized as
Notre Dame Middle-High School in 1987

Wichita Falls

In 2014 a man told the diocese that Sutton sexually abused him when the man was a Notre Dame 7th through 9th grader in the early 1990s. He said that, as his history teacher, Sutton accused him of plagiarism and made him meet the priest in the chapel several times per week during lunch hour. Sutton is then said to have abused the boy as "punishment" and "penance," using sex toys and stuffing the boy's mouth with a towel to stifle his screams. The priest is further said to have told the boy to "shut up" and "I have the power to ruin your life." Sutton's accuser also said the priest took photos on several of the occasions.

The boy is said to have told another student, whose mother was a school counselor, of the abuse. She is said to have done nothing in response and that, soon after, Sutton and other school officials accused the boy of selling LSD at the school.

TX • Mr. Ronald M. Staley, Prin.
Rev. John Sutton, Chap.

Diocese of Fort Worth.

195-164 students, boys and girls, grades 7-12.

In March 2014, Ft. Worth bishop Michael Olsen wrote in a letter to Notre Dame parents and alumni that the the diocese had received an allegation of sexual abuse by Sutton. Olson stated that civil authorities had been notified, and that the allegation "was found to have a semblance of truth." In September 2014 the bishop and a diocesan liaison flew to WA state, where Sutton's accuser was then living, to meet with the man and his mother. Per the accuser, Olsen secretly recorded conversations with his mother. The man filed suit against Olsen and the diocese in March 2015.

1992   Listed as Retired by the Diocese of Pueblo       There are an unusual number of double and even triple entries in the Official Catholic Directory for Sutton. In the 1992 Directory, Pueblo indexes him as retired, and Forth Worth indexes him as still a chaplain at Notre Dame. Bishop Olson of Fort Worth confirms that Sutton worked at Notre Dame into 1992.

1992

Fargo Bishop James S. Sullivan (1985-2002)

1994 St. Vincent de Paul Leeds ND Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton
Diocese of Fargo.
1992 1994 Immaculate Conception Penn ND Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton
Diocese of Fargo.
Mission of St. Vincent.
1992 1994 St. James Minnewauken ND Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton
Diocese of Fargo.
Mission of St. Vincent.
1992 1994 St. Mary Knox ND Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton
Diocese of Fargo.
Mission of St. Vincent.
1994 1998 Sacred Heart Cando ND Pastor and sole priest:
Rev. John Sutton
Diocese of Fargo.
1998 2001 Location unknown.       The 1998-2001 Directories index Sutton to the Pueblo diocese, whose pages provide a Cando ND address. The 1998 Directory also indexes Sutton to the Fargo diocese, at Sacred Heart in Cando. But in these four Directories, Sutton is not listed in the Fargo pages as working at Sacred Heart in Cando.

2001

Toledo Bishop James R. Hoffman (1980-2003)

Toledo Bishop Leonard P. Blair (2003-2013)

2004 Commons of Providence Sandusky OH "Celebrated Mass there and in nursing homes for many miles around," according to a memorial by a relative. Diocese of Toledo.
The Commons of Providence is a Catholic senior living provider owned and operated by Sylvania Franciscan Health, a corporation-ministry of the Third Order Regular Franciscan nuns in Sylvania OH.
9/11/04   Died.        

 

Sources:

Official Catholic Directory (1956-2005)
Rev Fr Hugh Mills Sutton, Jr, findagrave.com, September 11, 2004
Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
Rev. John Sutton, News Herald, September 13, 2004
To: School Parents and Alumni of Notre Dame Catholic School, Wichita, Texas, Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth,
March 14, 2014
Lawsuit Alleges Priest Sexually Abused 7th Grader in Wichita Falls, everythinglubbock.com, March 5, 2015
New Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse in Fort Worth Catholic Diocese, By Elizabeth Campbellliz, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 5, 2015
Fort Worth Diocese Interrogated Sex Abuse Victim and His Mother in a Starbucks: Lawsuit, By Amy Silverstein, Dallas Observer, March 6, 2015



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 Sutton's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with an allegation confirmed by the Diocese of Fort Worth. 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 March 26, 2015.