Msgr. Joseph A. Davies – Assignment History

Summary of Case: The Archdiocese of Baltimore has stated in 2003 correspondence with the State's Attorney that after Davies died in 1993, it received multiple allegations of abuse committed by him, which it has reported to "various jurisdictions." The correspondence with the State's Attorney specifically documented an allegation of abuse perhaps in the late 1960s in St. Joseph's parish in Hagerstown. The survivor had met with the current pastor, Rev. Christopher Moore, about the allegation, and then with Msgr. Richard W. Woy, the Chancellor. Woy wrote to the survivor, "I am deeply sorry for the abuse you suffered at the hands of Monsignor Davies." Woy offered counseling, but in the documents we have seen, did not disclose that there were other accusers. Woy explained that Cardinal Keeler's policy was not to include on his public list any priests who had died before they were accused. The archdiocese no longer maintains a list on its website, but we have cached a copy. Since Cardinal Keeler's retirement, Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien (archbishop 2007-2011) and William E Lori (archbishop since 2012) have not revealed the allegations against Davies.

Davies' 49-year career involved extensive contact with children and young adults. He was a parish priest for his entire career, a prep school chaplain for 11 years, a prison chaplain for nearly 30 years, the archdiocesan Director of Catholic Boy Scouts for 14 years, and also very active in Volunteers for America, which maintained two facilities for children in Hagerstown, where Davies worked.

: 1943
Incardinated: Archdiocese of Baltimore
Retired: 1991
Died: 2/3/92

Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes


Archbishop Michael J Curley (1921-1947)

Archbishop Francis P Keough (1947-1961)

St. Katherine of Siena

Baltimore MD 4/4. Priests were Msgr. John I. Barrett, Revs. Stanley J. Scarff, John F. Mendelis, and Joseph A. Davies. In 1945, Right Rev. F. Joseph Manns, who was also the officialis (head canon lawyer for the archdiocese), replaced Barrett as pastor, and Rev. Joseph D. Fuller replaced Mendelis. In the 1948 Directory, Davies moves up to #3 and Fuller back to #4. In 1948, Scarff left and Rev. J. Edward Yealdhall arrived; priests were now Manns, Davies, Fuller, and Yealdhall. In 1956, Rev. Leonard J. Doran replaced Manns. In 1958, Fuller left, leaving: Doran, Davies, and Yealdhall. Archdiocese of Baltimore and Washington

In 1948 Directory and later: Archdiocese of Baltimore.

School had 994 students in 1943-1944. Enrollment peaked in 1953-1954 at 1,269. In Davies' last year, 1959-1960, enrollment was 381.

In 1944 a small commercial school was started with 51 students.


Cardinal Lawrence J Shehan (1961-1974)

Rev. Brother D. John FSC was the Provincial of the Province of Baltimore of the Brothers of the Christian Schools when Davies was replaced



Calvert Hall College

(a private high school run by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, not to be confused with the Irish Christian Brothers)
Baltimore MD

Chaplain and Guidance Counselor. Superior was Brother Gabriel Cecilian FSC, and for Davies' last year, Brother Elrick Paul.

Davies is not listed at this position in the Directory. However, a 9/25/63 article announcing his replacement mentions that Davies had been chaplain at Calvert Hall for 11 years. The photographs above are from the Calvert Hall Yearbooks from 1958 and 1959.

Archdiocese of Baltimore.

High school had 840 students in 1952-1953. There were 1,320 in 1962-1963.
1960 1961

St. Joseph's

Hagerstown (Half Way) MD 1/1. Davies was pastor and sole priest. Archdiocese of Baltimore.
1960 1961

Maryland Correctional Institution

Hagerstown MD Chaplain Archdiocese of Baltimore.
1960 1974

Catholic Boy Scouts

    Archdiocesan Director, called Archdiocesan Chaplain (starting in 1970)

In 1972, Rev. Louis H. Pabst was appointed chaplain of the Baltimore Area Council; Davies continued to be Archdiocesan Chaplain

In the 1974 Directory, the Boy Scouts are no longer listed separately, but are subsumed under the archdiocesan Division of Catholic Youth Activities, Social Concerns; the Director of the subsection was Susan D. Shubin ACSW. Assistant Director of the Division was Rev. Robert F. Lentz.

Archdiocese of Baltimore.

See a report of a Davies speech on the Boy Scouts and volunteering.

After Davies was no longer listed in the Directory as associated with the Boy Scouts, he remained active in the Scouts. For example, in 1976, Davies was in charge of church services for the national Bicentennial Camporee of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and was a member of the organizing committee.

1961 1963

St. Katherine of Siena

Baltimore MD 2/3. Priests were Revs. J. Leonard Doran, Joseph A. Davies, J. Edward Yealdhall. In 1962, Rev. Donald P. Croghan replaced Yealdhall. Archdiocese of Baltimore.

School had 264 students in 1961-1962.


Archbishop William D Borders (1974-1989)

Cardinal William H Keeler (1989-2007)


St. Joseph's

Hagerstown (Half Way)

- Accused in 2003 of sexually abusing a boy in St. Joseph's in the late 1960s. The survivor spoke first with Rev. Christopher Moore, the current pastor. As a result, Msgr. Richard W. Woy notified the State's Attorney of the allegation, stating, "After [Davies'] death, the Archdiocese has received a number of allegations of child sexual abuse against him that have been reported to various jurisdictions." The letter was acknowledged. The survivor met with Woy on 8/19/03, and Woy wrote, "I am deeply sorry for the abuse you suffered at the hands of Monsignor Davies." Woy offered counseling, but in the documents we have seen, did not disclose that there were other accusers. Woy explained that Cardinal Keeler's policy was not to include on the archdiocesan list priests who died before they were accused.


1/1. Davies was pastor and sole priest. In 1973, Rev. Kloman F. Riggie joined Davies in residence; Riggie was chaplain at the Maryland Correctional Training Center.

Archdiocese of Baltimore.

In the 1990 Directory, Davies is no longer listed at St. Joseph's; Riggie is listed as pastor and sole priest. Unusually, Davies is indexed to the Maryland Correctional Institution, rather than to St. Joseph's, where he previously was indexed as residing and serving as pastor. In the index to the 1990 Directory, his ordination year (1943) is not provided.
1963 1965

Maryland Institution for Men

Breathedsville MD    
1965 1991

Maryland Correctional Institution (MCI)

Hagerstown MD Chaplain. See an informative article on this ministry, which quotes a testimonial describing Davies as "a world traveler" and a "frequent consultant with the Pope in Rome"

Boy Scouts, Mid-Atlantic Region

    Chaplain. The article that mentions this appointment also profiles Davies' prison ministry, and also mentions his 11-year Calvert Hall chaplaincy..

American Catholic Correctional Chaplains Association

    National President An article that documents a dinner celebrating this appointment also provides useful detail on Davies' ministry at MCI.

Volunteers of America

    Appointed to the National Advisory Board In Hagerstown, the Volunteers of America maintained at this time a group home for boys on High Street and Quality Hill House, a home for girls, both for children with behavioral and family problems.

Made a Monsignor



      On August 13, 2015 the Archdiocese released a statement that it had received an allegation in 1993 from a man who said Davies had sexually abused him as a child in the 1950s. The statement also acknowledged that the archdiocese had received subsequent allegations against Davies.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1944-1993), an archdiocesan letter, and newspaper articles 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 Davies' career history, as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and newspaper articles, with allegations as they are reported in a letter from the archdiocese to the State's Attorney. 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 7/11/17.