Msgr. Henry B. (Hugh) O'Donnell—Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Accused on 12/8/05 of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in 1950 in Washington DC. According to the survivor's account, O'Donnell had begun a sexual relationship with her mother before his ordination in 1949. The mother worked as O'Donnell's part-time housekeeper and discovered O'Donnell in the act of abusing her daughter. The abuse entailed forced kissing, as well as touching of the girl's breasts and genitals beneath her clothes. At this time, O'Donnell was diocesan secretary or chancellor. The kissing was allegedly repeated when the girl was 18 years old, and O'Donnell is accused of verbally abusing the girl, by then a young woman, on a third occasion. By that time, he was the Steubenville vicar general. His career track is noteworthy. He spent no time in a parish, even at the beginning of his career, but went directly into diocesan administration and was promoted rapidly.

: 1949
Incardinated: Steubenville OH
Died: 11/21/82

Steubenville Register, September 24, 1970.   Steubenville Register, September 24, 1970. O'Donnell is on the right.

Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes
1949 1950 Secretary Steubenville OH   Steubenville OH diocese, where John K. Mussio had been the bishop since the diocese was established in 1944.
1950 1980 Chancellor


• Immediately before or after O'Donnell moved up from Secretary to Chancellor, he is alleged to have abused 13-year-old Anna Marie Hanes, with whose mother he had been sexually involved since before his ordination. See the survivor's 12/8/05 account.


O'Donnell was made a monsignor in 1952. He is first called by this title in the 1953 Directory.

During his early years in the chancery, O'Donnell worked with another priest accused of abuse, Rev. Robert F. Marrer, who was the diocesan PR director.

1952 1979 College of Consultors Steubenville OH Secretary to the Consultors 1952-53; Member 1953-79.  
1952 1981?

Administrative Board

renamed Diocesan Board of Administration in 1978 Directory

reorganized as Diocesan Financial Advisory Committee in 1980 Directory

members not listed in 1982 Directory

Steubenville OH Member. Perhaps continued as a member after 1981.  
1953 1974 Villa Maria Rest Home Steubenville OH 1/2. Superintendent. 18 residents in 1953. Not listed in 1975 Directory or later volumes.
1954 1981 Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel


• Just after O'Donnell became rector of the chapel, he is alleged to have entrapped the 18-year-old Hanes and kissed her forcibly.

OH 1/2. Rector 1954-78. Then 2/2. Rev. John Quinn was the junior priest at the beginning; in 1955 Quinn was replaced by Rev. Karl E. Schumacher, who was also the assistant chancellor, a new position. In 1958, Rev. James C. Marshall replaced Schumacher both in the chapel and as assistant chancellor. In the 1978 Directory, Marshall became Vice-Chancellor. Marshall became rector of the chapel in 1978. Daily exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was offered here. The address is the same as the chancery, 422 Washington St.
1957 1972

Diocesan Co-ordinating Council

renamed Diocesan Co-ordinating Council of Men's Organizations in 1965 Directory

renamed Diocesan Council of Catholic Men in 1967 Directory

not listed in 1973 Directory or later volumes

Steubenville OH The 1958 Directory is the first to name leadership for this body: Mr. Charles Delbrugge, president; O'Donnell, moderator. Perhaps O'Donnell was moderator before 1957. In 1959, Mr. John J. Hungerman replaced Delbrugge. In 1961, Mr. Francis A. Berarducci replaced Hungerman. In 1963, Mr. John Onrejko replaced Berarducci. Mr. Stephen A. Hart replaced Onrejko in 1964. President eliminated in 1971.  
1959 11/21/82

Diocesan Building Committee

renamed Commission in 1962 Directory

renamed Building and Equipment Commission in 1974 Directory

Steubenville OH    
1960 1980

Synodal Examiners

not listed in 1981 Directory

Steubenville OH 4/9.  
1964 11/21/82 Vicar General


• At about the time O'Donnell became vicar general, Hanes asked him in a phone call if he could help her resolve the "torment" she felt. He allegedly responded with verbal abuse of a sexual nature.


OH Msgr. Edwin F. Murphy continues as #1 VC in 1964-68 Directories. O'Donnell begins to be sole VC in 1968, so listed for the first time in the 1969 Directory. In the year that O'Donnell became vicar general, another priest accused of sexual abuse, Rev. Robert A. Brown, became a dean. Brown worked as a dean 1964-79 and during that time was named monsignor. He was credibly accused of sexually abusing boys during the 1970s.
1967 11/21/82

Vicar for Religious (Men)

renamed Vicar for Men and Women Religious in 1976 Directory

back to Vicar for Men Religious in 1979 Directory

Steubenville OH    
1970 1972 Second Synodal Commission Steubenville OH Temporary Chairman  
1970 11/21/82 Priest Personnel Board Steubenville OH Member.  
1977 1980 Diocesan Treasurer Steubenville OH   Mussio retired in 1977 and Albert H. Ottenweller became bishop.
1977 11/21/82 Promoter of Justice Steubenville OH    
1981 11/21/82 St. John Villa Carrollton OH Episcopal Representative. Diocesan orphanage staffed by 38 Sisters of Our Lady of Charity. Special children 220; day pupils 3. Sr. Rita Murphy, Supr. Adm.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1950-83). Re: Senate Bill 17, Testimony before the Ohio House of Delegates, Judiciary Committee, by Anna Marie Hanes-Martinez (December 8, 2005).

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'Donnell's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the accusation against him as presented in testimony before the Ohio House of Representatives.We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report. We remind our readers that in the U.S. judicial system, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

A Note on Nomenclature: We use the term "assignment record," instead of the more common "service record," because "service" is not an appropriate word for the activities of an abusive priest. Dioceses are often less than forthcoming about the activities of retired priests, but when we can determine those activities, we list them in these assignment records, particularly if they involve ministry. Retired priests remain under obedience to their bishop, and even the activities of laicized priests should be a concern to the diocese.

This assignment record was last updated on 11/13/06.