Msgr. Basil A. Ormsby – Assignment History

Summary of Case: Ormsby was first acknowledged as publicly accused in the Buffalo diocese's 3/20/18 list of "diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor." Ormsby's inclusion on the list indicated that he had at least two allegations, because deceased priests (Ormsby died in 1997, as noted on the list) were included only if they had "more than one allegation made against them."

After the list appeared, WGRZ reported that a third Ormsby survivor had come forward in an email to the station before the diocesan list was published. He reportedly stated that Ormsby had "touched and kissed" him when he was an altar boy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The man "never said" anything about the abuse, out of respect for his mother's trust in Ormsby.

In addition, WGRZ's long-running online comments section regarding the Diocese of Buffalo contains an anonymous allegation made by a man on 2/27/18, also before the diocesan list was published, stating that he had been abused in his home at age 12 in April 1960 when Ormsby made a pastoral visit after the boy's father's funeral. The man states that Ormsby paid him not to talk about the abuse.

It appears that neither of these allegations was reported to the diocese, which included Ormsby on its list because it had at least two allegations against him. This would indicate that the total number of allegations of abuse by Ormsby is at least four.

Ormsby was a wealthy man, as may be seen from his philanthropy on behalf of St. Patrick Scholarship Fund, Canisius College in Buffalo, Niagara University in Lewiston, St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, and Stella Niagara education park in Lewiston. The title of monsignor was conferred on Ormsby in late 1988 or early 1989, after his retirement in 1987. All the other Buffalo priests so honored at that time were still in active ministry.

Ormsby began his ministry in the Buffalo Missionary Apostolate, working in rural parishes, as most newly ordained Buffalo priests did in the years 1940-1970. Ormsby worked in 10 parishes during his first 15 years as a priest, never becoming a pastor. Then he worked for 30 years at St. Teresa's in South Buffalo, first as assistant (1957-1969) to Msgr. Leo J. Toomey, and after Toomey's death, as pastor (1969, 1970-1987). Frequent transfers and very long appointments are both red flags in an assignment history. Also of interest is Ormsby's hospitalization after Christmas 1943.

Another unusual feature of this assignment history is Ormsby's promotion to pastor of St. Teresa's in South Buffalo in 1969, when Msgr. Toomey died, then his demotion to #2 in 1970, and then his re-appointment as pastor in 1971.

Born: June 11, 1912 in Niagara Falls
: May 30, 1942
Educated: St. Mary's High School (Niagara Falls); Niagara University (Lewiston); Seminary of Our Lady of Angels at Niagara University (Lewiston)
Retired: 1987
Died: June 14, 1997 in Lackawanna

Start Stop Parish & Other Assignments Town & Allegation State Position & Colleagues Notes

May 1942

Bishop John A. Duffy (1937-1944)

August 1942

St. Mary's




One of 11 missionaries in the Buffalo Missionary Apostolate, "which provided priests to say Mass at several small parishes, primarily south of Buffalo." Director of the Apostolate and pastor of St. Mary's was Rev. James J. Navagh.

Diocese of Buffalo


August 1942 May 1943 St. Ann's Sinclairville NY Administrator. Not listed here in the Official Catholic Directory; appointment documented in the Dunkirk Evening Observer (8/3/42). St. Ann's (the spelling in the Directory) was one of the first missions in the Missionary Apostolate.  
May 1943 December 1943 Most Holy Trinity (Italian) Dunkirk NY

Assistant. Pastor was Rev. Leo Pulling; then Rev. John Shea. Ormsby was assistant.

Ormsby had been transferred to Holy Trinity in Dunkirk after his Sinclairville assignment.

Diocese of Buffalo
December 1943   Mercy Hospital Buffalo NY As of 12/27/43 he was in Mercy Hospital in Buffalo. As of 4/8/44 he was no longer assigned to Holy Trinity. Diocese of Buffalo


Bishop John F. O'Hara CSC (1945-1951)

1946 St. Teresa of the Infant Jesus Niagara Falls NY Assistant. Priests were: Revs. John M. Ryan and Basil A. Ormsby Diocese of Buffalo
1946 1949 St. Aloysius Gonzaga Cheektowaga NY Revs. Walter M. Gonter, Basil A. Ormsby. Diocese of Buffalo

School with 236 pupils is first listed in the 1949 Directory.
1949 1950 Our Lady Help of Christians Cheektowaga NY Revs. Leo G. Link, Basil A. Ormsby. Diocese of Buffalo

School with 321 pupils.
1950 1951 St. Vincent de Paul Buffalo NY

Msgr. Luke F. Sharkey, LL.D., Revs. William E. Crotty, Basil A. Ormsby

Msgr. Sharkey was also a diocesan consultor, a synodal examiner, and president of the Clerical Mutual Benefit Society.

Diocese of Buffalo

School with 203 pupils; Sisters of St. Joseph.
1951 1952 Our Lady of the Rosary Niagara Falls NY Revs. J. Stanly Ormsby, Ph.D., S.T.L., Basil A. Ormsby. Stanly was Basil's brother. Diocese of Buffalo

School with 282 pupils; Sisters of Mercy.


Bishop Joseph A. Burke (1952-1962)

1956 Blessed Trinity Buffalo NY Revs. Charles T. Kraehn, Basil A. Ormsby. Rev. John T. Naber became #3 in 1953. Diocese of Buffalo

School with 379 pupils; Sisters of St. Joseph.


1957 Ascension North Tonawanda NY Revs. Francis J. Hunt, Basil A. Ormsby, James P. Hayes.

Diocese of Buffalo

Elementary school with 398 pupils; Sisters of St. Joseph.

High school with 16 pupils; Sisters of St. Joseph.


Bishop James A. McNulty (1963-1972)



Bishop Edward D. Head (1973-1995)


St. Teresa

Listed 9/6/16 on the National Register of Historic Places. The application, available here, provides a useful summary of parish history.


• Commenter to a WGRZ story states he was abused in his home at age 12 in April 1960 when Ormsby made a pastoral visit after the boy's father's funeral. Ormsby allegedly gave the boy "money to keep silent."

• Reportedly touched and kissed a boy who was an altar server here in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "I knew I was uncomfortable with it but never said because my mom loved him as a priest and trusted him. Everyone trusted him."

• In addition, the Diocese of Buffalo has received at least two other allegations of abuse by Ormsby. He was included on the list of Buffalo "diocesan priests who were removed from ministry, were retired, or left ministry after allegations of sexual abuse of a minor." That list included deceased priests like Ormsby "with more than one allegation made against them."


1957-1960: Msgr. Leo J. Toomey, LL.D., Revs. Basil A. Ormsby, Paul V. Durkin, Peter F. Sfeir.

1960-1962: Toomey, Ormsby, Durkin, Rev. Leo F. McCarthy.

1962-1965: Toomey, Ormsby, McCarthy, Bernard Paterniti ("Fr. Pat")

McCarthy was replaced by:
- Rev. Duane G. Fimbel (1965-1966)
-Rev. Anthony F. Gagliardo as #4 (1966-1967)
- Rev. Thomas M. Bingham (1967-1968)

Bingham left in 1968 and was not replaced, leaving Toomey, Ormsby, Paterniti.

Toomey died on 3/31/69, Ormsby became pastor, with a new lineup: Ormsby, Andrew Zarzeka, Robert J. Swick.

But in 1970, Ormsby was demoted to #2, according to the 1971 Directory, which lists: Rev. James H. Mueller, Ormsby, and Zarzeka.

In 1971, unusually, Ormsby became pastor again, with a new lineup: Ormsby, Joseph K. Lowry, and John Kilian.

1972-1973: Ormsby, David J. Degli Uomini, and Lowry.

Diocese of Buffalo

School staffed by the Sisters of Mercy with these pupil counts in sample school years during Ormsby's tenure:

1957-1958: 993
1959-1960: 1,103
1964-1965: 1,141
1969-1970: 1,060
1974-1975: 622
1979-1980: 431
1984-1985: 292
1986-1987: 292

* * *

1973-1974: Ormsby, Raymond R. Russell, Lowry.

1974-1975: Ormsby is the only priest listed in the 1975 Directory, but Revs. precedes his name, with space after.

1975-1976: Ormsby, Richard P. Judd, who is also accused of abuse at St. Teresa's.
Note: A priest who was in residence with Ormsby and Judd is not listed in the Directory; his identity is not known; perhaps there were other priests in residence not listed in the Directory.

1976-1977: Ormsby.

1977-1981: Ormsby, Paterniti.

1981-1987: Ormsby

1965   Mount Mercy Alumnae Association Buffalo NY Chaplain Diocese of Buffalo
1968 1997 St. Patrick Scholarship Fund Buffalo NY President, taking over in 1968 from Toomey, Ormsby's pastor at St. Teresa's. Last listed in the 1975 Directory. Ormsby was involved in the fund with Toomey before 1968, and continued as president for many years. The first exchange students were greeted by Toomey and Ormsby in 1960. Diocese of Buffalo
1969 1976 Canisius College Buffalo NY Member of the Board of Regents of Canisius College Diocese of Buffalo
1981 1984 Canisius College Buffalo NY

Member of the Board of Trustees. Re. Eugene P. Finnegan SJ was the Rector of this Jesuit College.

Ormsby received an honorary doctorate from Canisius College in 1987.

Diocese of Buffalo

Jesuit college with 4,519 students.

Niagara University

Ormsby received an honorary doctorate in divinity

Lewiston NY At the same commencement ceremony, Mother Teresa received an honorary doctorate in sacred theology and was the keynote speaker. See also a general article on Mother Teresa's tour. Diocese of Buffalo

A Vincentian university; Ormsby was an affiliate of the Vincentian Community.

Ormsby and nine others received the Buffalo News Citizen of the Year award.

Buffalo NY See article listing winners. Diocese of Buffalo
1987   Ormsby retires Buffalo NY See obituary. Diocese of Buffalo

Canisius College

Ormsby received an honorary doctorate

Buffalo NY See obituary.  
1987 1989 Address listed in the Directory: P.O. Box 4, Buffalo NY 14240 Buffalo NY

Obituary locates Ormsby here after his retirement but does not mention his time "in residence" at Nativity in Orchard Park (see next entry).

It appears that Ormsby remained connected with St. Teresa's in South Buffalo. An article about a 12/17/89 vespers at St Francis High School identifies Ormsby as celebrant and "pastor emeritus" of St. Teresa's.

Diocese of Buffalo


St. Francis High School

Ormsby received the Fr. Justin F. Figas Memorial Award

Athol Springs NY An article about the award reported: "Rev. Ormsby has been a generous contributor to the school's development efforts and has helped to provide tuition assistance to students in need for many years." Diocese of Buffalo

Niagara University

Ormsby received the President's Medal, the university's highest honor.

Lewiston NY See obituary. Diocese of Buffalo
Late 1988 Early 1989 Title of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness Conferred on Ormsby Buffalo NY

On 1/6/89, the Buffalo diocese announced that 49 diocesan priests had been given papal honors. Ormsby was the only retired priest on the list; the other 48 were in active ministry.

Diocese of Buffalo


Bishop Henry J. Mansell (1995-2003)

1996 Nativity Orchard Park NY

Msgr. Thomas J. Beasley; Revs. Richard W. Blasejewski, Michael J. Parker; in res. Msgr. Basil A. Ormsby.

Parker left in 1994, disappearing for a year from the Directory index, and was not replaced.

Ormsby was to mark 50 years as a priest by concelebrating a Mass here with Bishop Head, who said the Mass alone after Ormsby collapsed while leading the procession into the church.

Diocese of Buffalo

Elementary school with 287 students; Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. Ruth Frost, Principal (1990-1996).

James E. Haid, CCD (1990-1991); Mary Ann Pietrzak, CCD (1991-1996)

1996   Address listed in the Directory: P.O. Box 4, Buffalo NY 14240 Buffalo NY Obituary locates Ormsby here after his retirement but does not mention his time "in residence" at Nativity in Orchard Park (see previous entry). Diocese of Buffalo
6/14/97   Our Lady of Victory Hospital Lackawanna NY Died.



Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1943-1998).
- Catholic Priest in Sinclairville Parish, Dunkirk Evening Observer, August 3, 1942
- Bishop Announces Pastoral Changes, Dunkirk Evening Observer, May 29, 1943
- Services of Triduo at Holy Trinity Church, Dunkirk Evening Observer, August 11, 1943
- Retreat for Youth in Local Churches, Dunkirk Evening Observer, October 16, 1943
- Personals, Dunkirk Evening Observer, December 27, 1943
- An Easter Song, by John S. Ormsby, Dunkirk Evening Observer, April 8, 1944
- Irish Feis at St. Teresa's, Sun and Erie County Independent, October 22, 1964
- Mt. Mercy Alumnae Set Sunday, May 9 Mother's Breakfast, Sun and Erie County Independent, April 29, 1965
- Obituary: Rev. Bernard “Fr. Pat” Paterniti, Find-a-Grave, April 11, 1983
- Three to Be Honored for Service to St. Francis, The Sun and Erie County Independent, May 26, 1988
- 49 Priests in Buffalo Diocese Receive Honors from Pope, Buffalo News, January 6, 1989
- Vespers Ceremony at St. Francis, The Sun and Erie County Independent, December 14, 1989
- Two Priests Mark 50th Anniversaries Retired Monsignor Collapses on Way to Celebrating Jubilee Mass, Buffalo News, June 6, 1992
- Past Citizen of the Year Winners, Buffalo News, February 12, 1995
- Obituary: Rev Basil A. Ormsby, Find a Grave, June 14, 1997
- Monsignor Basil A. Ormsby Dies: Benefactor of Catholic Education, Buffalo News, June 16, 1997
- The Missionary Apostolate, in 150 Years: Celebrating God's Life in Us: The Catholic Diocese of Buffalo 1847-1997, by J. David Valaik et al., 1997
- Board of Regents - Ormsby, Rev. Basil A. '42, New York Heritage, Digital Collections, August 31, 2006
- From Mother Teresa to Colonel Klink: 10 memories of the BPO’s Julius Rudel, by Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News, July 5, 2014
- National Register of Historic Places Program: St. Teresa's Roman Catholic Church Complex, Septermber 6, 2016
- Comments on Buffalo Diocese Announces More Parish Closings Across WNY, WGRZ, February 27, 2018
- Diocese releases list of priests, Diocese of Buffalo, March 20, 2018
- Victim Reacts to List of Priests Released Tuesday, by Kelly Dudzik, WGRZ, March 20, 2018

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 Ormsby's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported by the Diocese of Buffalo and in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations 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 4/17/18.


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