Assignment Record – Rev. Richard L. McCaffrey, s.j.

Summary of Case: Richard Leo McCaffrey was ordained a Jesuit priest of the New England Province in 1973. While a seminarian he taught school in Glenallen, Alaska and in his native Boston, Massachusetts. After ordination McCaffrey settled into ministry in the diocese of Fairbanks, working in parishes located in Tununak, Nightmute, Toksook Bay, Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay, Bethel, Russian Mission, Marshall, Barrow, Tanana and Fairbanks. He also held a number of prominent Chancery positions, including Chancellor. In 1992 he officially became a member of the Jesuit's Oregon Province. McCaffrey was removed from ministry in 2005 after accusations emerged that he had sexually abused 10 and 11-year-old girls in Alaskan villages during the late 1970s and early1980s. The abuse was said to have involved at least three girls from three different parts of the state. He was sent to the Jesuit Colombiere Community in Portland, Oregon, where he died May 7, 2006.

: May 26, 1973
Died: May 7, 2006


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State/Country Position Notes


Fairbanks bishop was Francis Doyle Gleeson, s.j. (1948-1968), followed by Robert Louis Whelan, s.j. (1968-1985).

1973 Copper Valley School Glennallen AK Jesuit scholastic during summers, prior to ordination; teacher of math, general science and economics; boys' Dorm Prefect  


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

1970 Urban Sisters' League Boston MA teacher of inner-city youth  


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

1973 Weston Jesuit School of Theology Cambridge MA theology student McCaffrey was ordained May 26, 1973.
1973 1978 Sacred Heart Cathedral Fairbanks AK 3/3, 3/4  
1973 1975   Harding Lake AK   This was a station of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks.
1973 1977   College AK   This was a station of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks.
1973 1975   North Pole AK   This was a station of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks.
Marriage Tribunal Fairbanks AK Defender of the Bond 1973- 1976, 1982-1995; Promoter of Justice 1973-1978, 1982-1995, 1996-1999.  
1977   Acting Chancellor Fairbanks AK    
1977   St. Patrick's Barrow AK visiting priest  

Jan. 1978

Spokane bishop was Bernard Joseph Topel (1955- 1978), followed by Lawrence Harold Welsh (1978-1990).

June 1978   Spokane WA Jesuit tertianship  
1978 1979 St. Joseph's


• McCaffrey was accused in an August 2005 lawsuit of having sexually abused a Tununak girl in 1978 and 1979, when the girl was 10 and 11 years-old. His accuser said the priest would invite her into his bedroom, take off her clothes, have her masturbate him, then tell her her actions were "pure.... like Adam and Eve." She said McCaffery also molested her friends.

AK 1/1  
1978 1979   Toksook Bay AK   This was a mission of St. Joseph's in Tununak.
1978 1979   Nightmute AK   This was a mission of St. Joseph's in Tununak.
1978 1995 Commission on the Promotion of Christian Unity/Ecumenical Commission Fairbanks AK    
1979 1981 Little Flower of Jesus

Hooper Bay

• In May 2005 a 35-year-old woman reported that McCaffrey sexually assaulted her when she was 10-years-old, in a Western Alaska village.

• McCaffrey was accused in 2005 lawsuit of sexually abusing a girl in the early 1980s at Little Flower of Jesus when the girl was 10 and 11 years-old. His accuser said McCaffery would force her to touch him and rub him with oil. She said he would tell her that what happened was okay and not to tell
, then give her candy and pop.

AK 1/1  
1979 1981   Scammon Bay AK   This was a mission of Little Flower of Jesus in Hooper Bay.
1979 1981   Cape Romanzof AK   This was a station of Little Flower of Jesus in Hooper Bay.
1979 1991 Commission for Liturgy, Sacred Music and Sacred Art Fairbanks AK Chairman 1979-1983  
1981 1985 Bishop's House and Chancery Office Church Fairbanks AK    
1981 1985 Chancellor Fairbanks AK    
1981 1985 St. Aloysius Tanana AK    
1981 1995 Bishop's Council Fairbanks AK Diocesan Consultors  


Fairbanks bishop was Michael Joseph Kaniecki, s.j. (1985-2000).

1986 Monroe High School Fairbanks AK   Monroe High School had 140 students.
1986 1987         McCaffrey is not indexed in the 1987 Directory, but he is listed in the Fairbanks diocesan pages under numerous Chancery positions.
Construction Committee Fairbanks AK Chairman  
1981 1984 Personnel Committee Fairbanks AK Chairman  
Finance Advisory Board Fairbanks AK    
1987 Jan. 1998 Immaculate Conception Church Bethel AK Pastor  
1987 1990 Immaculate Heart of Mary Marshall AK   This was a mission of Immaculate Conception in Bethel.
1987 1990 Our Lady of Guadalupe Russian Mission AK   This was a mission of Immaculate Conception in Bethel.
1995 1996 St. Catherine's Chevornak AK   McCaffrey is indexed but not listed in the Fairbanks diocesan pages of the 1996 Directory as at St. Catherine's. He is listed as at Immaculate Conception in Bethel.
Jan. 1998 Oct. 1998 Brother Joe Prince Jesuit Community St. Mary's AK On sabbatical.  
Presbyteral Council Fairbanks AK    

Oct. 1998

Kanieicki was succeeded as Fairbanks bishop by Donald Joseph Kettler (2002-2013).

2005 Immaculate Conception Church Fairbanks AK   The 1999-2001 and 2003-2006 Directories index but do not list McCaffrey in the Fairbanks diocesan pages as at Immaculate Conception. The 2002 Directory does list McCaffrey as at Immaculate Conception.
1998 May 2005 Jesuit Residence Fairbanks AK  

The 1999-2006 Directories index McCaffrey as both at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Residence in Fairbanks.

McCaffrey was suspended from ministry in May 2005 due to allegations that he had sexually abused young girls. The allegations were deemed 'credible' and McCaffrey was permanently removed from the Fairbanks diocese in August 2005. McCaffrey denied the abuse.

May 2005

Portland archbishop was Richard Joseph Malone (2004-2012).

May 2006 Colombiere Jesuit Community Portland OR   McCaffrey died May 7, 2006.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1974-2006)

Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Hooper Bay, Alaska: 1928-2003, Editors Note: This Article Is Indebted to a Considerable Extent to Writings by Father Louis L. Renner, S.J., Alaskan Shepherd, June-July 2003
Allegations Put Pastor on Leave, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Daily News, June 2, 2005
Suit Alleges Former Alaska Priest Molested Girl in '70s, Fairbanks: McCaffrey Was Placed on Administrative Leave in June Because of Allegations, By Lisa Demer, Anchorage Daily News, August 10, 2005
Civil Suit Alleges Fairbanks Pastor Molested 10-Year-Old, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Daily News-Miner, August 10, 2005
Pastor Removed from Ministry, By Mary Beth Smetzer , Fairbanks Daily News-Miner [Fairbanks AK], August 22, 2005
Diocese Calls Abuse Claims 'Credible', By Sean Doogan, August 22, 200,
McCaffrey Denies Abuse, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, August 23, 2005
Jesuits Review Abuse Claims, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Miner, August 24, 2005, October 17, 2005
Priest Faces 2nd Abuse Lawsuit, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, October 18, 2005
Embattled Priest Dies of Natural Causes, By Mary Beth Smetzer, Fairbanks News-Miner [Alaska], May 9, 2006
Embattled Priest Dies; Lawsuits Go on, McCaffrey: Accused of Abuse in Alaska, He Had Been Living in Oregon, The Associated Press, May 10, 2006
Excerpt from Bankruptcy Reorganization Documents for Fairbanks Diocese January 25, 2010, p. 1
Alaskana Catholica: A History of the Catholic Church in Alaska, By Louis L. Renner, s.j.

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 McCaffrey'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 May 4, 2014.