Rev. George Barry Ashwell (G. Barry or George B.)

Summary of Case: Ashwell was accused in lawsuits of sexually abusing at least four boys, one an altar boy at a parish where he was assistant pastor in the 1970s, and the other three for whom he was a licensed foster parent at the parish where he was pastor for more than twenty years. He was allowed to continue in ministry after the first lawsuit in 1996. He was removed from ministry in 2001, and defrocked in 2005.

Ordained: 1969


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Seattle archbishop was Thomas Arthur Connolly (1950-1975)

1970 Sacred Heart Bellevue WA 3/3 Parish had a school with 211 boys and 222 girls.
1970 1971 St. Pius X Mountlake Terrace WA 2/2 Parish had a school with 130 boys adn 112 girls.
1971 1975 Our Lady Star of the Sea Bremerton WA 2/2 Parish had a school with 231-271 students.


Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen followed Connolly as archbishop (1975-1991)

1976 St. Joseph's


• Named in a 2001 lawsuit as having molested an altar boy at St. Joseph's in the 1970s. (Seattle Times
April 14, 2002)

WA 2/2 Parish had a school with 362 students.
1975 1979 Diocesan Advocate        
1979 1980 Pro-Synodal Judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal        
1979 1980 Defensores Vinculi of the Metropolitan Tribunal        
1990 1993 Northern Dean        
1976 1978 St. Vincent's Federal Way WA 2/2 Parish had a school with 239-265 students.


Huthausen was replaced as archbishop by Thomas Joseph Murphy (1991-1997), followed by Alexander Joseph Brunett (1997- )

2000 St. Augustine's

Oak Harbor

• Accused in lawsuits in 1996 and the early 2000s of having sexually abused boys at St. Augustine's. The boys were living with Ashwell as his foster children. After the 1996 accusation, Ashwell refused a psychological evaluation requested by the archdiocese. He was allowed to continue his ministry, including work with children (Seattle Post-Intelligencer [Seattle WA], August 19, 2004)

WA 1/1

Referred to as "Very Reverend".

Between 1980 and 1993 Ashwell was a state licensed foster father to at least five children.

1978 2000 St. Mary's Coupeville WA   This was a mission of St. Augustine's in Oak Harbor.
2000 2001 Unassigned        
2001   St. Aloysius Buckley WA 1/1  
2001   Our Lady of Lourdes Wilkeson WA 1/1

The 2002 Directory is the last in which Ashwell is indexed.

The 2001 and 2002 Directories index Ashwell as unassigned, but, per news reports, in 2001 he was made pastor of St. Aloysius in Buckley and and of Our Lady of Lourdes. (Seattle Times, November 15, 2005) He was placed on administrative leave in Sept. 2001 after an allegation surfaced that he had abused an altar boy in the 1970s at St. Joseph's in Vancouver WA. (Seattle Times
April 12, 2002)

Ashwell was defrocked by the Vatican in 2005.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, (1970-2002)

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 Ashwell'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 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 Sept. 10, 2009