Assignment Record– Rev. Richard O. Matte

Summary of Case: A priest of the Boston archdiocese ordained in 1964, accusations of child sexual abuse against Matte are known from nearly every assignment throughout his career as a priest. Most involved boys, and at least one case involved sexual abuse of a girl. Matte was removed from ministry in 1993 and defrocked in 2005.

Born: 1938
Ordained: 1964
Laicized: 2005


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

Feb. 18, 1964

Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

June 7, 1966 St. Joseph the Worker Hanson MA 2/2  
June 7, 1966 Feb. 13, 1967 Sacred Heart Brockton MA


Parish had a school with 170 boys and 150 girls.
Feb. 13, 1967 March 9, 1967 Health Leave        
March 10, 1967 Oct. 7, 1969 St. Joseph's (French)


Accused of sexually abusing minors in Salem.

MA 5/5, 4/5 Parish had a grade school with 245-236 boys and 271-233 girls, and a high school with 40 boys and 87 girls.
March 10, 1967 Oct. 7, 1969 St. Therese Salem MA   This was a mission of St. Joseph's.

Oct. 8, 1969

Cushing was succeeded by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

Sept. 8, 1970

St. Monica's


Accused of sexually abusing minors here.




School had 348 boys and 352 girls.
Sept. 8, 1970 May 4, 1976 Xaverian Brothers High School


A student of this school told administrators that Matte was sexually abusing the student's friend during confessions. Matte denied the accusation and the student was suspended for spreading rumors.

A man in 2002 stated publicly that Matte "took advantage of" him when he was a Xaverian sophomore in 1976. He said he had gone to Matte for counseling regarding a relationship with a girl.

One accuser here was Matte's nephew, per church documents.

MA Chaplain School had 965-745 boys.
May 4, 1976 Jan. 30, 1984 St. Joseph's


Accused of raping a 13-year-old boy in the 1970s in the rectory of this parish. His accuser said that Matte canceled a youth group meeting, but didn't tell him. The boy showed up alone and, after raping him, Matte told the boy he would go "straight to hell" if he told.

Accused of sexually abusing four adopted and foster children from one family.

Accused of fondling a 14- year-old girl who had gone to him for help after her father died.

MA 1/2  

Jan. 31, 1984

Medeiros was followed as archbishop by Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002).

Dec. 27, 1984 St. Joseph's


Accused of having sexually abused a 14-year-old boy in the early 1980s. The boy is said to have been abused when he went to Matte to report that assistant priest, Fr. Buntel, had plied him with drugs and alcohol and violently sexually abused him.

MA 2/6 Buntel was removed from ministry in 2002 for sexually abusing boys and exposing them to drugs, alchol, and violent pornography.
Dec. 28, 1984 May 24, 1988 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Accused of trying to molest a 17-year-old boy who reported to Matte that the assistant priest, Fr. Desilets, had been sexually abusing him. Matte responded by telling the boy to take his clothes off.

MA 1/2

Matte was removed from this parish in 1988, per a 2002 lawsuit, due to complaints that he was molesting children.

Matte reported Desilets' sexual abuse of altar boys to Bishop Banks (Boston) and to Desilets' superiors in Canada.

May 25, 1988 Jan. 12, 1993 St. Louis de France (French)


Accused in a 2002 lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy at this parish for four years, beginning when the boy was 13 years old, in 1989.

MA 1/4, 1/2, 1/3, 1/1

Parish had a grade school with 218-275 students. In 1988-1989 it had a high school with 125 girls.

Matte is said to have been removed from this parish in 1993 and sent to treatment, due his sexual abuse of young boys.

Jan. 13, 1993 Dec. 27, 1998 Absent on Sick Leave      

Matte was sent to a treatment center in Canada. (Manchester (NH) Union Leader
July 9, 2002)

He began working in 1996 in the Boston archdiocesan personnel office.

Dec. 27, 1998

Law was replaced by Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M.
(2003 -).

March 21, 2005 Unassigned      

Matte is not indexed in the Directories after 2002.

Said to be living in South Dennis MA in 2002.

Matte's laicization was announced in 2005.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1965-2002)

Abuse Alleged at Xaverian in 1970s, By Stephen Kurkjian, Boston Globe, March 6, 2002
Asked to Help, Priest Allegedly Abused, By Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe, June 5, 2002
Church Scandal: Hidden Truth; Records: Church Covered up 4 Decades of Abuse, By Tom Mashberg and Jack Sullivan, Boston Herald, June 5, 2002
Church Aware of Birmingham Accusations As Early As 1964, By Julie Mehegan, Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA) , June 5, 2002
Allegations against Former Lowell Priest Have Rocked a Tightly Knit Parish, Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA) , July 6, 2002
Bishop John B. McCormack: Role in sex abuse scandal still questioned, Manchester (NH) Union Leader, July 9, 2002
The Convicted and the Accused, Boston Globe, January 28, 2002
Priest Abuse Cases Sealed by Judges, By Walter V. Robinson, and Sacha Pfeiffer, Boston Globe, February 16, 2002
Former Lowell Priest Was Named in Settled Suit, By Dana Willhoit, Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA), February 16, 2002
Lawsuit Links Cardinal to Placing Pedophile Priest in Pepperell, Lowell, By Lisa Redmond, Lowell (MA) Sun , April 10, 2002
6 Priests Accused of Abuse Are out 'Left Clerical State,' Archdiocese Says, By Michael Paulson and Jonathan Saltzman, Boston Globe, June 10, 2005
Ex-Lowell, Pepperell Priest Defrocked, By Robert Mills, Lowell Sun (Lowell, MA) , June 10, 2005
Former Local Priests Defrocked over Sexual Allegations, By Nicole Simmons, Metro West Daily News, March 18, 2006
Boston Archdiocese Posts Sex-Abuse Database Online, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, August 25, 2011
North Shore Priests on List, Salem News, August 26, 2011
Richard O. Matte Assignment History, Boston Archdiocese

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 Matte's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation 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 October 27, 2015.