Assignment Record– Rev. William V. O'Neill

Summary of Case: A priest of the Boston archdiocese ordained in 1931, O'Neill assisted in parishes in Braintree and Everett MA before being named pastor of a Rowley parish in 1957, where he remained until his death in December 1960. In 2002 O'Neill was accused of having sexually abused a 12-year-old in 1957, after inviting the boy to the rectory for confession. O'Neill's accuser said the priest was quietly transferred out of the parish after the alleged incident.


Born: 1904
Ordained: 1931
Died: December 4, 1960


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes
6/16/31 11/26/31 St. Vincent De Paul (South) Boston      


Boston archbishop was William Henry O'Connell (1907-1944).

9/29/42 St. Francis of Assisi Braintree MA

2/2, 2/3

Assistant Pro-Tem



O'Connell was succeeded by Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

6/04/57 Immaculate Conception


O'Neill was accused in 2002 of having sexually abused a 12-year-old boy in 1957 at this parish, after inviting the child to the rectory for confession. The priest is said to have been quietly transferred out of the parish after the incident.

MA 4/5, 2/3, 3/5, 2/5 Parish had a school with 324-395 boys and 401-335 girls.
6/05/57 12/03/60 St. Mary's Rowley MA 1/1 O'Neill died December 4, 1960.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1932-1961)

Shaughnessy Claim Letter, May 17, 2002
Documents on Priests, Latest Files Include Graphic Description, By Sacha Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll, Boston Globe, January 18, 2003
Wrong Name Attached to Charge, Boston Globe, January 22, 2003
Boston Archdiocese Posts Sex-Abuse Database Online, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, August 25, 2011
List of Accused Local Clergy, Daily News, August 26, 2011
Clergy with Braintree Ties on List of Accused Priests, By Joseph Markman, The Patch, September 2, 2011
Publication With Respect to Archdiocesan Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child, 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'Neill'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 Sept. 27, 2010.