Assignment Record– Rev. James Buser, O.F.M.Cap

Summary of Case: Buser, (a freshman counselor at St. Lawrence Seminary), along with Gale Leifeld and Jim Wolf, are accused of molesting a student in a Capuchin-run high school and later at a boarding house. Civil suit filed 1993 but rejected by Court in 1995 as beyond statute of limitations. Numerous victims reported abuse but nothing done by Leifeld, his supervisor. Buser died December 21, 1979 at age 35.

Ordained: 1970
Died: 1979

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Milwaukee archbishop was William Edward Cousins (1958-1977), replace by Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B. (1977-2002).

1979 St. Lawrence Seminary and High School

Mt. Calvary

Accused in a 1993 lawsuit against the Capuchins of having molested a St. Lawrence student in the 1970s. (Detroit Free Press
February 14, 1995)

Buser reportedly sexually assaulted numerous boys at the school, some of whom told the principal, Fr. Gale Leifeld, of the abuse. (, Feb. 10, 2004)


freshman counselor, vice rector

School had 318-274 students.

No longer appears in Directories after 1979.

Died December 21, 1979 (

Leifeld admitted in 1994  testimony to sexually abusing St. Lawrence students. (Wisconsin State Journal [Madison WI]
February 19, 1994)


Detroit Archbishop was John Francis Dearden (1958-1980).



Some of the abuse is said to have taken place in 1978 in Detroit, in a house on West Grand Boulevard, where members of the Capuchin order and young men considering the priesthood lived together. Victim in 1993 lawsuit was 17 years old at the time. (Detroit Free Press
February 14, 1995)



Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1972-1979).

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 & 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.


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