Assignment Record– Rev. Richard T. Coughlin
Summary of Case: Richard T. Coughlin was ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1953. He assisted in parishes in Stoneham and Lynn MA before transferring in 1965 to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he was incardinated in 1971. There he assisted in Santa Ana, Anaheim and Costa Mesa parishes. He also taught at St. Michael's Norbertine Junior Seminary in Orange for many years. In 1970 Coughlin founded the All-American Boys Choir, which was not funded by or affiliated with the Church. The choir traveled internationally and performed for Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. Coughlin was excardinated from Los Angeles to the newly established diocese of Orange CA in 1976.
In 1985 a MA man reported to the Rev. John McCormack of the Boston archdiocese that Coughlin had molested him as a boy from 1958-1962. He said the abuse occurred in MA and on trips to NH and NY. In December 1992 four men reported separately that Coughlin had molested them as boys. The men were ages 23-45, and all had been Boys Choir members between 1970 and 1983. One said his father told the Los Angeles archdiocese of the abuse in 1974, and to choir board members in 1990. Also in December 1992 the man who had reported Coughlin in 1985 again went to Rev. McCormack in Boston with his allegations. He was initially told that there was no record of his previous report; in April 1993 McCormack informed him that the complaint was found and that Bishop Banks had forwarded it to the Diocese of Orange. Orange officials maintained in 2002 that they never received it. In February 1993 another man, who was a Boys Choir member 1977-1980, reported abuse by Coughlin. He said he told choir management in 1979 that Coughlin was abusing him and two other boys. In April 2002 a man reported to the Oklahoma City archdiocese "inappropriate conduct" by Coughlin 1968-1971; the report was forwarded to Los Angeles. In December 2002 Coughlin was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in Lynn MA during 1962-1965.
Coughlin was suspended from ministry in January 1993 and ordered to sever ties with the Boys Choir. In 2016 he is permanently restricted from ministry. His status, per the Orange diocese in August 2016 was "Life of Prayer and Penance."
Born: June 13, 1924
Ordained: September 29, 1953
Suspended: January 1993
Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).
• A Massachusetts man reported to the Boston archdiocese in 1985 that Coughlin sexually abused him beginning when he was 11 years-old, from 1958 to 1962. He said the abuse involved fondling and that it first occurred in Coughlin's car after CYO basketball games. He said he Coughlin also abused him at a cottage in Alton, NH, Lake George in NY, New York City and Cape Cod.
|MA||Assistant||The man said that he relayed his accusations to Rev.
John B. McCormack at the Boston chancery in November 1985. He met with McCormack again in December 1992, but McCormack said he didn't remember the 1985 meeting and couldn't find a record of the complaint. In April 1993 McCormack informed the man that the file was found and it showed that Bishop Banks relayed the complaint to the Orange diocese in March 1986. The Orange diocese maintained in 2002 that it did not receive the complaint.
• Coughlin was accused in a December 2002 civil lawsuit of sexually abusing "John Doe No. 3" during 1962-1965 at St. Mary's.
Los Angeles archbishop was James Francis Aloysius McIntyre (1948-1970).
|9/13/67||Immaculate Heart of Mary||Santa Ana||CA||Assistant|
McIntyre was succeeded by Timothy Finbar Manning (1970-1985).
|1972||St. Anthony Claret||
• In April 2002 a man reported to the Oklahoma City archdiocese "inappropriate conduct" by Coughlin during 1968-1971. Oklahoma City forwarded the complaint the Los Angeles archdiocese.
|CA||Assistant||Coughlin was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Los Angeles February 25, 1971.|
|1972||1974||St. John the Baptist||Costa Mesa||CA||Assistant|
The Diocese of Orange was established in 1976. Its bishop was William Robert Johnson (1976-1986), followed by Tod David Brown (1998-2012).
|1989||St. Michael's Norbertine Junior Seminary||Orange||CA||
Coughlin was excardinated from the Los Angeles archdiocese June 18, 1976. Boston archdiocesan officials in 1993 said they informed the Orange diocese of sexual abuse complaints against Coughlin in 1985. Orange officials said they had no such record.
|1985||1988||Coughlin is not indexed in the 1986-1988 Directories. Per news reports he was still at St. Michael's.|
|1970||1992||All-America Boys' Choir||
• In 1992 five men, ages 23-45, came forward separately to report that Coughlin had molested them as boys 10-30 years previously. Four of the men said they were members of the the Boys' Choir between 1970 and 1983 when they were molested. Coughlin denied the accusations.
• Another former choir member emerged in February 1993, alleging Coughlin kissed him passionately on the lips many times and fondled him a few times during choir bus trips. His accuser was a choir member 1977-1980 and said the abuse happened when he was 13 or 14 years old. He said he told choir management in 1979, and that two other boys were also being abused by Coughlin.
Coughlin founded this chorus for boys ages 9-14 in 1970. It toured world-wide and performed for Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. It was not church- funded affiliated.
One of the men who came forward in late 1992 said his father reported the allegations to the Los Angeles archdiocese in 1974, and to choir board members in 1990.
The man who came forward in February 1993 said he told a priest in 1989 about his molestation, and that the priest encouraged him to confront Coughlin.
Coughlin was suspended from ministry in January 1993 and ordered to sever ties with his chorus after five men alleged separately that he sexually abused them as boys from 10 to 30 years previously.
Per the Boston archdiocese's website in 2011, Coughlin is permanently restricted from ministry.
In August 2016 the Orange diocese listed Coughlin's status as "Life of Prayer and Penance."
Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1954-2003)
• McCormack memo re Coughlin, November 30, 1985
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.