Assignment Record– Rev. Robert J. Maher

Summary of Case: Robert J. Maher was ordained for the Harrisburg diocese in 1937. He was an assistant in York, Columbia and Lebanon parishes, later pastoring parishes in Harrisburg and Hanover. From 1948-61, Maher was Diocesan Superintendent of Schools; he resided at a girls' orphanage for most of that time. For 15 years he also held a position with the Diocesan Examiners of Clergy. He retired in 1975 and died in 1990. In August 2016 the diocese publicly acknowledged that Maher was among priests of the diocese with credible allegations against him of child sexual abuse. The allegations were reported to the diocese in 1994, regarding "an incident that took place in the 1960s."

Ordained: 1937
Died: June 19, 1990


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Diocese of Harrisburg

Bishop was George Leo Leech (1935-1971).

1939 St. Rose's York PA 2/2

St. Rose's had a school with 194-204 students.

1937 1939 Sacred Heart Spring Grove PA   This was a mission of St. Rose's in York.
1939 1941 St. Peter's Columbia PA 2/2 St. Peter's had a school with 117 students.
1941 1946 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Lebanon PA 2/2, 2/3 Assumption of the BVM had a school with 448-507 students.
1946 1951 St. Peter's Columbia PA 2/2

In residence.
St. Peter's had a school with 93-119 students.
1946 1951 Mother of Holy Purity Wrightsville PA   This was a mission of St. Peter's in Columbia.
1946 1961 Diocesan Schools Harrisburg PA Assistant Superintendent 1946-48; Superintendent 1948-1961  
1947 1962 Diocesan Examiners of Clergy Harrisburg PA  


1951 1960 Sylvan Heights Home for Orphan Girls Harrisburg PA In residence.

Named Monsignor in 1957,
The orphanage had 40-70 girls.
1960 1961 St. Patrick's Cathedral Harrisburg PA 1/4 The Cathedral had a school with 179 students.


Leech was succeeded as Harrisburg bishop by Joseph Thomas Daley (1971-1983).


1975 St. Vincent's


In February 1994 the diocese received allegations of child sexual abuse against Maher, said to have occurred in the 1960s. The diocese did not acknowledge this publicly until August 2016.

PA 1/1, 1/2 St. Vincent's had a school with 422-228 students.


William Henry Keeler replaced Daley as Harrisburg bishop (1983-1989), followed by Nicholas Carmen Dattilo (1989-2004).

1990 Retired Lebanon PA   Maher resided at 915 St. Lincoln Ave. He died June 19, 1990.

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.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1938-1991).

Diocese: Three priests added to list of alleged abusers, By Brandie Kessler,, August 29, 2016

: 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 Maher's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, 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 August 29, 2016.


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