Assignment Record– Rev. Walter Dayton Salisbury, S.S.J.

Summary of Case: A Josephite priest ordained in 1959, Salisbury was a college chaplain, teacher, and Alderian psychologist in Houston for many years. He served on the Galveston-Houston diocese's Priests Senate and chaired continuing education for priests. He was transferred in 1979 to Washington D.C., where he was a counselor at St. Joseph's Seminary, and in 1983 he was moved to a parish in the Mobile AL diocese. After two years he was back in D.C., where he was in residence at two parishes, consecutively. At some point he also worked in Louisiana.

Along the way, Rev. Salisbury was twice convicted of child sexual abuse and accused at least one other time. In 1978 he was charged with indecency with a child; convicted in June 1979 after pleading 'no contest,' he was given three-years' probation. Per news reports, Salisbury was also accused of child molestation in Alabama. It wasn't until he molested a boy in his Washington D.C. rectory in 1993 that Salisbury was removed from ministry. In that case, he pleaded guilty and was given a one year prison sentence, suspended, and a year of probation. The Josephites sent him to treatment and prohibited him from presenting himself as a priest.

In approximately the mid-1990s, Salisbury relocated to his native Bar Harbor ME. He served for many years on the town's housing authority board, but resigned under duress in 2010 after his criminal convictions came to light. He had been listed as "Father" W. Dayton Salisbury on the housing authority's web page.

Ordained: June 6, 1959


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Diocese of Galveston-Houston

Bishop was Wendelin Joseph Nold (1950-1975).

1963 St. Nicholas Houston TX 2/2

St. Nicholas had a school with 358-334 students, and a High School with 69-79 students.

1963 1973 St. Martin de Porres Prairie View TX 1/1 Salisbury is indexed in the 1969-1973 Directories as in Prairie View, but neither the town nor parish could be found in the Galveston-Houston pages as they were in previous Directory years.
    Continuing Ed for Priests Houston TX chairman  
    Diocesan Senate of Priests Houston TX member  
1963 1968 A & M College Catholic Newman Center Prairie View TX chaplain  


Diocese of Galveston-Houston

Nold was succeeded as bishop by John Louis Morkovsky (1975-1984).

1979 Texas Southern Catholic Newman Center


In 1978 Salisbury was charged with indecency with a child. He pleaded no contest, was convicted in June 1979, and was given three-years' probation.

TX resident chaplain A 1978 bio states that Salisbury had been chaplain at Texas Southern University Newman Center for more than 20 years.
    University of St. Thomas Houston TX teacher  


Archdiocese of Washington

Archbishop was William Wakefield Baum (1973-1980), followed by James Aloysius Hickey (1980-2000).

1983 St. Joseph's Seminary Washington D.C. counselor  
        LA   At some point prior to 1993 Salisbury worked in Louisiana.


Diocese of Mobile

Bishop was Oscar Hugh Lipscomb (1980-2008).

1985 St. Joseph's

Tuskegee Institute

Salisbury was accused of child molestation in Alabama.

AL 1/1 St. Joseph's had a school with 220-190 students.


Archdiocese of Washington

Archbishop was James Aloysius Hickey (1980-2000).

1987 Holy Redeemer Washington DC


In residence.

Holy Redeemer had a school with 278 students.



1993 St. Luke's


In April 1993 Salisbury was charged with with having sexual relations with a young boy related to an incident in January of that year in St. Luke's rectory. Salisbury had been tutoring the boy. Salisbury pleaded guilty and was given a one year prison sentence, suspended, and a year of probation.


3/3, 2/3

In residence.


After the 1993 incident Salisbury was removed from ministry and sent to treatment. He was prohibited from presenting himself as a priest.


Archdiocese of Baltimore

Archbishop was William Henry Keeler (1989-2007).


2007 St. Joseph Society of the Sacred Heart House of Central Administration Baltimore MD retired

Salisbury is not indexed beyond the 2007 Directory.

Although the Directories show Salisbury as in Baltimore, in 2010 he indicated in a news story that he had been in Bar Harbor, ME for at least "13 or 14 years." He was originally from Bar Harbor. Salisbury became the focus of public controversy in 2010 when his criminal convictions came to light. He had been a long-time Bar Harbor Housing Authority board member and was listed on the Town's Website as "Father" W. Dayton Salisbury. He resigned under duress in December 2010.

mid-1990s     Bar Harbor ME    

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, 1960-2007).

Salisbury to Conduct Psychology Lectures, Galveston Daily News Spetember 9, 1978
VOTF Southeast Wi Affiliate, Voice of the Faithful, In the Vineyard April, 2003
Priest Goes to Police after Sex Charge, Washington Times, April 16, 1993
After Child Abuse Accusations, Catholic Priests Often Simply Vanish, By William Wan and Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post December 2, 2010
Former Priest Who Is Convicted Sex Offender Resigns Bar Harbor Housing Board, By Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily News, December 3, 2010
Ex-Priest Resigns after Past Comes to Light, By Robert Levin, The Fenceviewer, December 8, 2010
Priest Abuse Group Demands Apology from Bar Harbor, By Bill Trotter, Bangor Daily News, December 22, 2010
Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Blast Bar Harbor Officials, SNAP Statement, December 23, 2010
Convicted DC Predator Priest Causes Controversy in Maine, SNAP Statement, December 25, 2010
 Victims Appeal to Maine's Congressional Delegation, SNAP Statement, December 27, 2010
 Convicted Houston Predator Priest Causes Controversy in Maine, By David Clohessy, The Informer and Texas Freeman 12.27.10
Despite Some Claims, Donald Wuerl No Better Than Other Church Officials, SNAP Statement, February 19, 2013

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 Salisbury'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 December 20, 2016.


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