Assignment Record – Rev. John E. McLaughlin

Summary of Case: A priest of the Boston archdiocese ordained in 1961, McLaughlin was accused by two different adult males in 2002 of having groped them; one who said McLaughlin touched his groin while he was in counseling with the priest, and the other who said McLaughlin groped him at his son's christening. McLaughlin was kept in ministry. In May 2004 an accusation surfaced that McLaughlin had sexually abused a minor in the 1980s. He was subsequently removed from his parish, and officially removed from his position as pastor of the parish in March 2005. In August 2012 the archdiocese announced that its Tribunal had determined the allegation against McLaughlin that he had sexually abused a minor was "unsubstantiated". McLaughlin was at that point assigned to the status of "Senior Priest, restricted".

: 1961


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


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

1967 St. Joseph's Holbrook MA 3/3, 2/3 Parish had a school with 83-277 boys and 70-253 girls.
1967 1969 St. Bernard's Concord MA 3/3  


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

1977 St. Joseph the Worker Hanson MA 2/2 McLaughlin is indexed but not listed in the Boston archdiocesan pages in the 1970 Directory as at St. Joseph the Worker.


Bernard Francis Law replaced Medieros (1984-2002).

1985 St. Nicholas


McLaughlin was accused in 2004 of having molested a minor in the 1980s.


2/3, 3/3, 2/2

In residence.

1985 1989 St. Benedict's Somerville MA 2/3, 2/2, 1/2 Parish had a school with 240-202 students.
1989 1990         McLaughlin is not indexed in the 1990 Directory, nor is he listed as at St. Benedict's in the Boston archdiocesan pages.
    Archdiocesan Union of Holy Name Societies Boston MA chaplain  


Sean Patrick O'Malley succeeded Law

May 2004 St. Benedict's


In a 2002 lawsuit, an adult male accused McLaughlin of touching his groin when the man sought counseling with McLaughlin in June 2001.

A second man filed a complaint in 2002 that McLaughlin groped him at his son's christening.

MA 1/2, 1/3

Parish had a school with 196 students. The 2005 Directory shows a religious education program with 660 students.

McLaughlin was kept in ministry after the allegations in 2002 that he sexually assaulted two men. According to the archdiocesan spokesperson, McLaughlin was not removed at that time because "the archdiocese handles allegations of sexual abuse of adults differently from allegations involving minors".

McLaughlin went on a leave of absence from St. Benedict's in May 2004 after an accusation surfaced that he had sexually abused a minor in the 1980s.

May 2004 March 2005         His assignment as pastor of St. Benedict's was officially ended by the archdiocese in March 2005.
March 2005 Aug. 2012 Unassigned        
Aug. 2012   Senior Priest/Restricted Boston MA   The archdiocese announced in August 2012 that its Tribunal had determined that the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against McLaughlin was "unsubstantiated". He was therefore assigned to the status of "Senior Priest, restricted".

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1962-2009)

Crisis in the Church, Suit Alleges 50-Year Coverup Law, Church Are Cited by Alleged Victims of Abuse, By Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe, September 19, 2002
Suit Claims Archdiocese Conspired to Hide Abuse, By Robin Washington, Boston Herald, September 19, 2002
Parish Priest Kicked out for Sex Abuse Allegation, By Eric Convey , Boston Herald [Somerville MA], May 16, 2004
Group Weighs Whether Priest in Abuse Case Should Continue in Post, By Jared Stearns, Boston Globe, May 17, 2004
Removed Somerville Priest Had Previous Complaints, By Robin Washington, Boston Herald, May 17, 2004
Man Defends Cleric Uncle Despite Abuse Settlement, By Robin Washington, Boston Herald, May 19, 2004
Parishioners Back Accused Pastor, By Pat Healy, Boston Globe, May 23, 2004
Accused Had Been Named, Diocese Says, By Kevin Cullen, Boston Globe [Boston MA], September 15, 2004
140 New Victims Have Come Forward in Year since Settlement, By Donis Tracy, Archdiocese of Boston, September 17, 2004
Official Announcement, Archdiocese of Boston, April 1, 2005
Boston Archdiocese Posts Sex-Abuse Database Online, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, August 25, 2011
Boston Archdiocese: 15 Accused Priests Had Worked in Somerville Parishes, By Andy Metzger, Wicked Local Somerville, August 30, 2011
Archdiocese of Boston Returns Reverend John E. Mclaughlin to Ministry, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, August 11, 2012
Charges against Priest Ruled Unsubstantiated, By Derek Anderson, Boston Globe, August 11, 2012
Former East Somerville Priest Cleared of Molestation Charges by Archdiocese, Wicked Local Somerville, August 11, 2012

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 McLaughlin'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 2, 2014.