Assignment Record– Rev. Michael S. McGrath

Summary of Case: Michael S. McGrath was a St. Louis archdiocesan priest, ordained in 1975. He assisted in parishes in Florissant, Wentzville, Overland, Concord Village, Pagedale and Bridgeton. For a short while he was the lead priest in Jennings. McGrath also taught in several parish schools and at DuBourg High School.

In 1993 McGrath was placed on leave and sent for treatment for a year after the archdiocese received an allegation that, while he was a seminarian in 1973-1974, McGrath fondled a boy. He was returned to active ministry. In 1997 he was suspended again after a concerned priest reported that McGrath had taken a group of boys on a trip to New Orleans. The archdiocesan review board recommended the suspension, saying that McGrath was not using "common sense." McGrath found work driving buses for the city and for Greyhound.

In June 2003 a wrongful death suit was filed by the parents of a man who had recently committed suicide; the parents said McGrath sexually abused their son in the 1980s, beginning when the boy was a fourth-grader. The suicide occurred just after the man learned that the statute of limitations prevented him from filing criminal charges against the priest. This was the first of at least 21 lawsuits by people claiming abuse as children by McGrath. McGrath's modus operandi was reportedly to take children on outings in his van, such as getting ice-cream or attending baseball games. There were also overnight trips. He typically would allow children to help drive the van while they sat in or near his lap. Most allegations were of fondling; at least one was of forced oral copulation. McGrath's alleged victims were boys and girls. Two former female students of DuBourg High School separately reported that McGrath fondled them while they were sleeping during a trip in his van.

McGrath was laicized in 2005.

: 1975
Laicized: 2005


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Archdiocese of St. Louis

Archbishop was John Joseph Carberry (1968-1979).

1978 St. Ferdinand's


A man claimed in a July 2006 lawsuit that McGrath fondled him when he was age 10 or 11 in the mid to late 1970s.

In a lawsuit filed in September 2011 a man accused McGrath of sexually abusing him when he was a St. Ferdinand's altar boy in the 1970s. Allegations from this accuser included forced oral copulation.

MO 2/5, 2/4

St. Ferdinand's had a schoolwith 542-499 students.


Carberry was succeeded as St. Louis archbishop by John Lawrence May (1980-1992).

1981 St. Patrick's


McGrath was accused in a lawsuit filed in July 2003 of sexually abusing a girl from 1978 to 1981 when he was a St. Patrick's teacher. His accuser said that during one of the incidents, when she was age 12, another priest witnessed the abuse when he walked in on them.

In lawsuits filed in July 2003, McGrath was accused of sexually abusing four boys between 1979 and 1981, while assigned to St. Patrick's.

MO 2/2 St. Patrick's had a school with 210-197 students.
1981 1983 All Soul's


McGrath was accused in a January 2005 lawsuit of sexually abusing a teenage All Soul's altar boy in 1980 and 1981.

MO 2/3, 2/4 All Soul's had a school with 389-315 students.
1983 1988 St. Simon's

Concord Village

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in June 2003 by family of a man who had recently committed suicide; the family said McGrath sexually abused their son 1984-1987, beginning when the boy was a fourth-grader, during youth outings and activities. The boy and his family were parishioners at the time of another parish, St. Bernadette's. The family said their son's suicide came shortly after he learned that he could not file criminal charges against McGrath due to the statute of limitations. The man's younger brother was among other alleged victims who later came forward.

In July 2003 three men accused McGrath in lawsuits of sexually abusing them when they were 13 or 14 years-old 1983-1987. McGrath was said to have had the boys sit in his lap while teaching them to drive his van. They said the abuse occurred while McGrath was assigned to St. Simon's and assisted at other parishes. McGrath allegedly would pick up children from various parishes in his van and take them on outings such as getting ice-cream or to a baseball game.

In another lawsuit filed in July 2003, a man alleged sexual abuse by McGrath 1984-1985 when he was a boy, during drives in McGrath's van.

Two more men filed suit in November 2003, claiming abuse by McGrath1984-1986, when they were ages 12 and 13.

In March 2004 three men accused McGrath of molesting them when they were 12 to 15-year-old boys 1982-1988. They said the incidents occurred during outings in McGrath's van and at the priest's residence.

MO 3/3 St. Simon's had a school with 440-506 students.
1988 1989 Corpus Christi Jennings MO 1/3 Corpus Christi had a school with 228 students.
1989 1990 St. Catherine of Siena Pagedale MO 2/2  


May was replaced by Justin Francis Rigali (1994-2003).

1996 St. Mary's


In 1993 a man reported to the archdiocese that McGrath fondled him as a boy during 1973-1974, when McGrath was a seminarian.

MO 2/2, 3/3

St. Mary's had a school with 200-163 students.

Per the archdiocese, after receiving the allegations he had fondled a boy in the 1970s, McGrath was placed on medical leave for a year for psychological treatment.

1990s   Bishop DuBourg High School

St. Louis

Two women filed suit in June 2003, alleging McGrath molested them during a school trip in 1992, when they were DuBourg High students. Each accuser said he touched them sexually as they slept in McGrath's van.

MO teacher

This assignment is per news reports.

McGrath returned after his medical leave to DuBourg High School in Fall 1995.

1996 1997        

McGrath is not indexed in the 1997 or 1998 Directories, nor is he listed in the St. Louis pages as at his previous assignment.

Per news reports, in 1996 he was sent to live at  St. Stephen Protomartyr in St. Louis.

1997 1999 Leave of Absence       McGrath was placed on administrative leave in January 1997, after a concerned priest reported that he took a group of boys on a trip to New Orleans in late 1996. The archdiocesan review board recommended his removal from public ministry, saying McGrath was not "using common sense" or "getting the message" after his treatment.
1999 2002 On Medical Leave      

McGrath is not indexed beyond the 2002 Directory.

He went on to drive buses for the Metro and for Greyhound.

McGrath's laicization by the Vatican was announced in January 2005.

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.

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1976-2002).

Suit Charges Priest Abuse Led to Suicide, By Jim Suhr, Associated Press, carried in Seattle Post-Intelligencer [St. Louis MO]
June 11, 2003
Suit Alleges Abuse by Priest Led Man to Suicide, By Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 11, 2003
Two More Suits Are Filed against Priest, By Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 27, 2003
 KWMU 07.08.03
Four More Abuse Suits Filed against Archdiocese, By Matt Sepic, KWMU [St. Louis MO], Downloaded July 8, 2003 
New Lawsuits Allege Priest Molested Teenagers As He Taught Them to Drive, By Hannah Bergman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 9, 2003
 Accusers Recall Outings with Priest, Broken Trust, By Jeremy Kohler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 3, 2003
St. Louis Archdiocese Begins Talk of Resolving Abuse Suits, By William C. Lhotka, St. Louis Post-Dispatch [St. Louis MO], November 10, 2003
3 More File Sex Abuse Suits against Former City Priest, By Lauren Todd, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 12, 2004
St. Louis Archdiocese to Settle 18 Abuse Cases, The Associated Press [St. Louis MO], August 26, 2004
Diocese Settles 18 Abuse Suits, By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 26, 2004
 $3.8 Million Settles 23 Sex Abuse Suit, By Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 21, 2004
 Former priest is accused of sexual abuse, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 12, 2005
 Vatican Defrocks Three Local Priests Accused of Sex Abuse, By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 29, 2005
 3 Priests Laicized, St. Louis Review [St. Louis MO], February 4, 2005
 8th Circ. Says Insurer Needn't Cover Priest Abuse Defense, By Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Law 360, January 29, 2014
Insurer Needn't Pay Archdiocese for Abuse-related Death Claim Settlement,By Judy Greenwald, Business Insurance, January 30, 2014
 Archdiocese Data Give Fuller Accounting of St. Louis Priest Abuse Scandal, By Jennifer S. Mann, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 30, 2014
Catholic Officials Lose 2 Court Rulings, SNAP, February 13, 2014
St. Louis Priest Faces Another Sexual Abuse Lawsuit, By Bob Priddy, Missourinet [St. Louis MO], July 7, 2006
 Judge Reconsiders Dismissal of Sex-Abuse Charges, WQAD [St. Louis MO], November 17, 2006
Mo. Court Backs Church on Sex Abuse Statute, By Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, December 13, 2007
Church Pays out $467,500 More for Sex Abuse Claims, By Jeremy Kohler, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 8, 2008
 Man Sues St. Louis Archdiocese and Priest for Sexual Abuse in 1970s, By Valerie Schremp Hahn, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, September 2, 2011

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 McGrath's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations 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 November 18, 2016.


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