Rev. Lynn R. Caffoe—Assignment
Summary of Case: Archdiocese received allegations on 1/21/75 that Caffoe sexually abused altar boys at his first parish. Faculty had been concerned during his seminary training at St. John's in Camarillo. File summaries indicate at least 15 victims. Accused in every parish, including St. Callistus in what is now the Orange diocese. Worked with Msgr. Leland Boyer, also accused. Removed after his therapist reported to authorities on 5/8/91. Treated at St. Luke's Institute 1991-92. Laicized 1/06. Settled 7/14/07.
Incardinated: Archdiocese of Los Angeles
|1964||1971||St. John's Seminary||
• Faculty noted that Caffoe had a tendency to "gather younger people around him." See article.
• On 1/21/75, parents of altar boys complain to pastor Peter Scannell. One mother of a 3rd grader told Scannell that Caffoe had stuck his tongue in her boys mouth and tried to touch his genitals. Msgr. John Rawden, chancellor, wrote a memo to Caffoe's file noting that he was accused of being "overly affectionate" with altar boys. See Addendum and compare documents quoted in article.
• On 2/12/98, woman reported that her brother was sexually abused by Caffoe as an altar boy here. See Addendum.
• On 3/8/02, an anonymous caller reported that he was sexually abused by Caffoe 1968-72 while an altar boy here. See Addendum.
|CA||3/4, 2/4. Priests were Revs. Peter Scannell, George Spreng, Caffoe, and (in residence) Conrad Bertsch (of Belleville). Bertsch was also assigned to Mater Dei HS. In 1972, Spreng left, Caffoe became #2, and Rev. Matthias Ryder arrived as #3.||
Parish school had 540 pupils in 1971-72.
|6/16/75||7/9/82||Our Lady of Peace||
Sepulveda / North Hills
• Two people came forward alleging abuse here. See article.
• "Numerous complaints were made about Caffoe's sexual contact with children" here, according to a complaint.
• Caffoe was transferred from this parish after he was seen molesting a child, according to the same complaint.
|CA||2/4, 2/3. Priests were Revs. Joseph G. Schnieders, Caffoe, Mark Stehly, and (in residence) Jerome Thompson. Stehly left in 1976. Thompson left in 1977 and two priests arrived in residence: Revs. Paul F. Menke and Antonio Salvo (Philippines). In 1979, Salvo became #3 and no longer in residence. Menke left in 1979. In 1981, Salvo left, and Rev. Ron Wasowski CSC arrived in residence.||Parish school had 433 pupils in 1975-76.|
|7/9/82||9/22/86||St. Bede the Venerable||
La Canada / Flintridge
• On 6/10/92, two priests reported finding an undated video in Caffoe's room here. In 4/05, Mahony wrote to Ratzinger requesting Caffoe's laicization and describing the boys in the video as "partially naked." The video was "objective verification that criminal behavior did occur." See Addendum and compare documents quoted in article.
|CA||2/3, 2/2, 2/3. Priests were Msgr. Leland Boyer, Caffoe, and Michael Biewend CJ. Boyer has been accused of abuse here and at Divine Savior in LA, where he was assigned 1971-75. Biewend left in 1983. Rev. Blaise Brockman OSB arrived in residence in 1985.||
Parish school had 318 pupils in 1982-83.
According to a complaint, Caffoe "was allowed to focus on youth groups" here, despite previous allegations of abuse.
• On 5/8/89, a woman reported anonymously that she had seen Caffoe hug and fondle two boys here. Msgr. Thomas Curry, Vicar for Clergy, told Caffoe about the complaint but did not ask him to explain, nor did he discipline him. See Addendum and compare documents quoted in article.
• On 3/20/91, pastor Nichols and the school principal (a nun) reported to Curry that Caffoe was spending "inordinate" time with rectory boys. The nun had once found Caffoe alone with an 8th-grader in a dark area of the parish hall; Mahony called this "strongly suggestive of improper behavior." See Addendum and compare documents quoted in article.
• On 3/22/91, parents of 3 boys complain to Deacon Shinkle. See Addendum, which paraphrases their complaint as "Fr. Caffoe was overly familiar with their teenage sons."
• Nevertheless, Caffoe stays at St. James, until his therapist on 5/8/91 files a suspected child abuse report. See Addendum. Caffoe's ministry was restricted on 5/13/91.
• On 2/11/94, boy reported to Vicar for Clergy that Caffoe had abused him in 1988-93, beginning at St. James parochial school and continuing while the boy was at Bishop Montgomery HS and Caffoe was under a St. Luke's Institute "continuing care contract." See Addendum.
|CA||2/4, 2/3. Priests were Revs. Gerald B. Walker, Caffoe, George Vadacherry (India), and (in residence) Patrick Comerford. Deacon Richard Shinkle arrived in 1987. Comerford left in 1988. Rev. Timothy Nichols replaced Walker in 1990.||Parish school had 311 students in 1986-87.|
|6/9/91||St. Luke Institute||Suitland||MD||Admitted for evaluation|
|7/1/91||8/22/91||St. Maria Goretti||Long Beach||CA||In residence and on sabbatical.|
|8/22/91||3/31/92||St. Luke Institute||Suitland||MD||Patient|
|9/28/92||St. Luke Institute||Suitland||MD||Attended continuing care program.|
|3/8/93||St. Luke Institute||Suitland||MD||Attended continuing care program.|
|5/12/93||Los Angeles||CA||Begins to see Los Angeles therapist weekly.|
|3/13/94||Working for cab company.|
|1994||A complaint was reportedly made about Caffoe to the Huntington Beach Police Department in 1994 but was never followed up. See article.|
|1998||2001||United States Mission||San Diego
|2001||2003||United States Mission||Salinas||CA||Administrative worker.||Nondenominational, Christian, nonprofit organization that takes in homeless people on a temporary basis. In exchange, the residents are asked to solicit donations door-to-door to support the organization. See article.|
|7/14/07||The archdiocese's settlement with 508 plaintiffs ended an important suit alleging abuse of four boys by Caffoe. See these articles: 1 2 3 4 5 6. See also an article on the settlement 7.|
Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1972-1991). See also the sources linked above.
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 Caffoe's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and the archdiocesan Addendum with allegations reported in the media and archdiocesan reports. This assignment record does not state or imply that individuals facing allegations are guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. The reports contained in the assignment record are merely allegations. 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.
This assignment record was last updated on February 5, 2009.