Assignment Record– Rev. James P. Vallely

Summary of Case: Ordained in 1949, James P. Vallely started his priesthood in in the Archdiocese of Portland OR. In 1951 he transferred to the Diocese of Portland ME, where he was incardinated in 1952. He assisted in parishes in Waterville, Bangor and Portland, and was chaplain for a hospital and an orphanage. He served as temporary administrator of a Limestone parish before being named pastor in Machias and then South Berwick. He retired in 1988, spending winters in the Orlando FL diocese and assisting in area parishes.

In 1993 a ME man reported to the diocese that Vallely sexually abused him in the late 1950s over a two to four-year period at St. Dominic's in Portland. He said the abuse began when he was a 9-year-old altar boy. He and a second man with similar allegations went to the media. As a result, a third man came forward alleging abuse as a boy at St. Dominic's by Vallely. The diocese received five complaints about Vallely between January and March 1993, and he was sent to outpatient treatment in FL. He died in 1997.

Vallely accusers continued to emerge. In 2007 a woman told the diocese she was sexually abused by Vallely in 1976, when she was an 11-year-old altar server at St. Michael's in Berwick. She received a settlement in 2009. In 2013 two brothers alleged abuse by Vallely when they were St. Michael's altar boys in the 1970s, and in 2015 four more men reported abuse by Vallely as boys at St. Michael's. Six men sued the diocese in November 2015, claiming Vallely abused them between 1956 and 1977, and that the diocese knew he was a sexual predator. The abuse is said to have included rape, and the victims were 8 to 15 years-old. The men cited a 2005 letter which indicated that at least five boys at St. John's in Bangor reported in the 1950s that Vallely was abusing them. The diocese settled with the six men for $2.1 million in August 2016.

Ordained: 1949
Retired: 1988
Died: December 12, 1997


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Archdiocese of Portland OR

Archbishop was Edward Daniel Howard (1926-1966).

1951 St. Rose's Portland OR 2/4

St. Rose's had a school with 386-430 students.


Diocese of Portland ME

Bishop was Joseph Edward McCarthy (1932-1955).

1953 St. Joseph's (Syro-Maronite) Waterville ME 2/2

St. Joseph's had a school with 35 boys and 15-21 girls.

The 1952-1968 Directories index Vallely's name with the suffix s.s.c., but he is never listed in the diocesan pages as such.

Vallely was incardinated into the Portland ME diocese in 1952.

1953   St. Mary's Bangor ME   Served here for two months.


Diocese of Portland ME

Daneil Joseph Feeney succeeded McCarthy as bishop (1955-1969).

1956 St. John's


Per Vallely's personnel file, Vallely allegedly sexually abused a St. John's altar boy, age 10-12, around 1953-56. His accuser said Vallely fondled his genitals.

A 2005 letter indicates that 5 boys alleged sexual abuse by Vallely during his time at St. John's. The bishop was informed and immediately transferred him to another parish.

ME 4/4, 3/4 St. John's had a school with 226-206 boys and 212-214 girls.
1953 1956 Bangor State Hospital Bangor ME Chaplain This was a station of St. John's in Bangor.
1956 1967 St. Dominic's


In 1993 a man told the diocese he was sexually abused by Vallely in the late 1950s over a two to four-year period at St. Dominic's, beginning when the man was age 9. He and a second man with similar allegations went to the media. As a result, a third man came forward alleging abuse by Vallely as a boy at St. Dominic's.

In a November 2015 lawsuit, a man claimed Vallely sexually abused him as a boy while the priest was assigned to St. Dominic's.

ME 2/3, 3/4, 3/3, 4/4 St. Dominic's had a school with 258-191 boys and 280-197 girls.
1956 1967 St. Elizabeth's Orphanage Portland ME   This was a chapel of St. Dominic's in Portland.
1967 1968 St. Louis' Limestone ME Temporary Administrator Vallely is indexed in the 1968 Directory as at his previous assignment, but he is not listed as there or as at his next assignment in the diocesan pages. Per news reports he served at St. Louis' during this time.


Diocese of Portland ME

Feeney was replaced as Portland bishop by Peter Leo Gerety (1969-1974).

1974 Holy Name of Jesus


In a November 2015 lawsuit a man alleged sexual abuse as a boy by Vallely in 1969, while Vallely was assigned to Holy Name of Jesus and visiting St. John's in Bangor.

ME 1/1  
1968 1972 Our Lady of Wisdom Whitneyville ME   This was a mission of Holy Name of Jesus in Machias.
1968 1974 St. Michael's Cherryfield ME   This was a mission of Holy Name of Jesus in Machias.


Diocese of Portland ME

Edward Cornelius O'Leary replaced Gerety as Portland bishop (1974-1988).

1988 St. Michael's

South Berwick

In 2007 a woman came forward to allege that Vallely sexually abused her in St. Michael's rectory in 1976, when she was an 11-year-old altar server. She received a settlement from the diocese in 2009.

In lawsuits filed in May 2013, two brothers accused Vallely of sexually abusing them when they were St. Michael's altar boys, 1976-79. They claimed the diocese knew at the time that Vallely was a sexual predator.

In lawsuits filed in November 2015, four men accused Vallely of sexually abusing them when they were boys and he was assigned to St. Michael's.

ME 1/1 The diocese said it received its first complaint about Vallely in
, and "took action."


Diocese of Portland ME

Bishop of Portland was Joseph John Gerry, O.S.B. (1988-2004)

Diocese of Orlando FL

Orland bishop was Thomas Joseph Grady (1974-1989), followed by Norbert Mary Leonard James Dorsey, C.P. (1990-2004).

1997 Retired Goose Rocks Beach/
Sun City

The Directories give Goose Rocks Beach ME as Vallely's residence, He "wintered" in FL. In 1993 he was reported to be assisting at St. Stephen's in Winter Park, and other Orlando area parishes.

Suspended in March 1993. Per news reports, three men separately alleged that Vallely had sexually abused them when they were boys, 30 years previously. The Portland diocese received five complaints against Vallely January-March 1993 re his "conduct" 1962-1963. Vallely was sent to outpatient treatment in FL. He died December 12, 1997.

1997 2016        

In November 2015 six men filed suit against the diocese, alleging sexual abuse including fondling and rape by Vallely when they were children, ages 8-15, between 1956 and 1977. They claimed the bishop knew Vallely was a harm to children at the time and concealed it. The suits cite a 2005 letter showing that the late bishop Daniel J. Feeney knew in at least 1956 that Vallely was a child sex offender.

In August 2016 the diocese settled with the men for $1.2 million.

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, 1950-1999).

3 Say Ex-Priest Abused Them, Orlando Sentinel (Florida), March 5, 1993
Victims Say Diocese's Disclosure Falls Short, By John Richardson and Gregory Kesich, Portland Press Herald (Maine), February 12, 2002
Church Catching up to Child-Abuse Views, By Tess Nacelewicz, Portland Press Herald (Maine), February 24, 2002
Maine Attorney General's Office Memorandum, August 6, 2003
Maine Attorney General's Document Production, May 27, 2005
AG Releases Complaint Files on 21 Dead Priests, By Judy Harrison, Bangor [ME] Daily News, May 28, 2005
Diocese Validates Claims of Abuse, By Jerry Harkavy, Associated Press, carried in Portland Press Herald [Maine], July 4, 2005
Diocese Still Drawing a Line, By John Richardson, Portland Press Herald [Maine], July 17, 2005
Substantial Evidence Led to Naming Nine Priests, Diocese Says, By John Richardson, Portland Press Herald (Maine), July 17, 2005
"Dear Bishop Malone … ", NSACoalition, January 4, 2009
Maine Diocese Says $200k to Settle Abuse Case, WBZ, December 2, 2009
Diocese Pays $200,000 to Clergy Abuse Victim, Lawyer Says Victim Was Molested in Church Rectory, WMTW, December 2, 2009
Maine Diocese to Pay Woman $200,000 in Abuse Settlement, Bangor Daily News, December 3, 2009
Diocese of Portland Reaches Settlement on Sex Abuse Case, Catholic News Agency, December 3, 2009
Brothers Sue Portland Diocese over Alleged Sex Abuse, By Scott Dolan, Portland Press Herald, May 20, 2013
Priest Sued for Child Sex Crimes, By David Clohessy, SNAP, May 21, 2013
2 Brothers File Lawsuits against Maine Catholic Church Alleging It Hid Priest Sexual Abuse, The Republic, May 21, 2013
Our View: Wounds Stay Fresh, Even from Long-ago Abuse, Portland Press Herald, May 23, 2013
Brothers Sue Catholic Diocese over Alleged Abuse by Dead Priest, By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News, June 3, 2013
Newly disclosed letter rekindles sex abuse case against Maine priest, lawyer says, By David Hench, Portland Press Herald, April 7, 2015
6 Men Claim Maine Catholic Diocese Concealed Report about Abusive Priest, By Judy Harrison, Bangor Daily News, January 5, 2016
Six Men Sue Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Alleging Abuse Decades Ago, By Dennis Hoey, Portland Press Herald, January 5, 2016
SPECIAL Report: Symbols of Suffering, By Kelli O'Hara, WHDH, March 30, 2016
Diocese of Portland, Maine settles child sex abuse case for 1.2 million dollars, By Elle Ousfar, WLBZ, August 15, 2016
Priest James Vallely Sex Abuse: Diocese Paid 6 Victims $1.2M To Settle Case, By Shaurya Arya, Morning News USA, August 16, 2016
Portland Catholic Diocese settles wth 6 sexual abuse victims for $1.2 million, By Eric Russell and Matt Byrne, Portland Press Herald
August 16, 2016

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 Vallely'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 August 22, 2016.


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