Assignment Record– Rev. Eugene M. O'Sullivan

Summary of Case: There are multiple accusations of sexual abuse of altar boys against O'Sullivan throughout his career, dating to at least 1964. He was also accused of having sexually abused two nephews over many years. He was transferred within the Boston archdiocese each time accusations surfaced. He was convicted in 1984 of raping a boy in Massachusetts, and transferred in 1985 by Cardinal Law to the diocese of Metuchen, NJ. O'Sullivan was brought back to Massachusetts in 1992, where he was allowed to continue to wear a Roman collar. He was defrocked in 2005.

Born: 1932
Ordained: 1960
Laicized: 2005


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


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

9/03/62 St. John Vianney Revere MA 2/2  
9/04/62 7/15/63 Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted


Church authorities knew O'Sullivan was molesting altar boys at this parish. (Boston Globe
June 5, 2002) A 1964 memo in Sullivan's personnel file acknowledges accusations against him (Boston Herald
June 5, 2002).

MA 2/4  
7/16/63 2/22/65 St. Ann's


A 1964 letter in O'Sullivan's personnel file reveals a complaint from the parent of a St. Ann's altar boy that O'Sullivan had molested her son and other boys at the parish. She also wrote that "Fr. Finn refused to do anything.". (Boston Globe
June 5, 2002)

MA 2/2 Finn was the St. Ann's pastor. He had told the boy's parents that he would notify the archdiocese about their concerns, but they later found out he had not done so. Cushing transferred O'Sullivan subsequent to receiving the parents' letter. (Boston Herald
June 5, 2002)
2/23/65 6/08/70 Our Lady of the Assumption

Boston (East Boston)

Within months of O'Sullivan's transfer to this parish, there were "reports of incidents with a couple of altar boys." This is per a 1984 letter in O'Sullivan's personnel file by then Rev. Robert J. Banks. (Boston Globe
June 5, 2002)

MA 2/3, 2/2, 3/3 Parish had a school with 148-109 boys and 162-121 girls.


Cushing was succeeded by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983), followed by Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002).

10/31/84 St. Agnes


O'Sullivan was convicted in 1984 of raping a St. Agnes altar boy. The abuse started when the boy was 13, and continued for two years. (Boston Globe
July 16, 1993)

O'Sullivan's nephew, Sean, disclosed in a 1993 news report that O'Sullivan sexually abused him for nine years, when he was nine years old (in approximately 1971), and that he had also abused his brother (who died in 1989) before that, when the brother was as young as six years old. (Boston Globe
July 29, 1993) The nephews were from Quincy, MA (The Patriot Ledger, October 20, 2008)

MA 4/4, 3/3, 3/4 O'Sullivan was sentenced to five years probation, with the stipulation that he be assigned "where he has no contact with young people". (Boston Globe
July 16, 1993)
11/01/84 9/26/85 Absent on Sick Leave       O'Sullivan was sent to Canada for treatment. (Post-Crescent [Green Bay WI]
August 23, 2003)


Metuchen bishop was Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1981-1986), followed by Edward Thomas Hughes (1986-1997).

1987 St. Joseph's North Plainfield NJ 3/3

Parish had a school with 231 students.

Cardinal Law transferred O'Sullivan to the Metuchen diocese, where he served at four parishes over the next seven years. Pastors of three of the four parishes were not aware of O'Sullivan's history of molesting children. (Boston Globe
June 5, 2002)

The Boston archdiocese's assignment history for O'Sullivan says his status 9/27/85-6/30/92 was "Non-Parish Ministry, Missionaries-Other Diocese."

O'Sullivan was not restricted in terms of contact with children while in New Jersey. He was involved in parish religious education and a youth group. (Boston Globe
July 16, 1993)

1987 1989 On Duty Outside the Diocese   NJ   Neither the 1988 nor the 1989 Directories indicate in the indexes where O'Sullivan was on duty.



1991 Mary, Mother of God Hillsboro NJ 2/2  
1991 1992 St. Bartholomew East Brunswick NJ 2/4 Parish had a school with 390 students.



1993     MA  

A phone number for O'Sullivan indexed in the 1993 Directory is for the rectory of Our Lady of Assumption in Chelsea, MA, per a 2010 google search. The 1993 Directory, however, does not list Sullivan there in the Boston archdiocesan pages.

In a 1993 memo, in an effort to defend his 1985 decision to transfer O'Sullivan to New Jersey, Cardinal Law proposed that he say in a news conference that "No previous reports have been [received]" of sex abuse of children by O'Sullivan. However, Bishop Alfred C. Hughes wrote in the memo's margin, "Certain? There were previous reports." (Boston Globe
June 5, 2002)

    Carney Hospital Boston (Dorchester) MA    



1997 Awaiting Assignment   MA   O'Sullivan is indexed twice in the 1994-1996 Directories, once as On Duty Outside, and once as Awaiting Assignment.


Sean Patrick
O' Malley, O.F.M. Cap. replaced Law

2005 Retired; Senior Priests   MA  

O'Sullivan is last indexed in the 2006 Directory.

O' Sullivan was defrocked in 2005. (The Patriot Ledger, October 20, 2008)

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1960-2006); O'Sullivan Assignment History, Archdiocese of Boston

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 O'Sullivan'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 June 16, 2010.