Rev. James J. Powderly—Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Accused in 2005 phone calls with archdiocese and in police report of sexually abusing a boy 1974-77 beginning when the boy was age 14. Abuse included masturbating the boy. Also accused of abusing the boy's sister. Abuse included sexually touching the girl.

Gonzaga College High School and Mount St. Mary's Seminary
: 1959
Incardinated: Archdiocese of Washington
Retired: 1998
Died: 10/8/04


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes


Archbishop was Patrick A. O'Boyle (1948-73)

1961 St. Michael's Silver Spring MD 3/4, 3/5. Priests were Msgr. Joseph J. Deppe and Revs. James M. Cooney, Powderly, and Raymond F. Castaldo. In 1960, Rev. James F. Montgomery arrived in residence. In the Washington archdiocese. Parish school had 698 pupils in 1958-59.
1961 1962 St. Stephen's Washington DC 3/3. Priests were Msgr. Joseph F. Denges and Revs. Francis W. Krastel and Powderly. Denges was a pro-synodal judge and assistant vicar for religious. In the Washington archdiocese. Parish high school was Immaculate Conception Academy; it had 312 female pupils in 1961-62.
1962 1965 Immaculate Conception Washington DC 3/3. Priests were Revs. John F.X. O'Connor, Patrick W. Kemp, and (in residence) Powderly. In 1964, Rev. J. Joshua Mundell replaced O'Connor. In the Washington archdiocese. Parish school had 85 pupils in 1962-63.
1965 1966 St. Elizabeth's Rockville MD 2/2. Priests were Revs. R. Frederick Bloom and (in residence) Powderly. In the Washington archdiocese. No parish school.
1966 1969 Absent on Leave or Assigned Elsewhere     Two sources place Powderly's recovery from alcoholism in approximately 1968. See 2004 obituary and 1983 article. Listed as a Washington archdiocesan priest. Indexed and listed as Absent on Leave in the 1967 and 1968 Directory. Indexed as Absent on Leave in the 1969 Directory, but not so listed.
1969 1975 St. Thomas More


• Accused in 2005 complaint to police of sexually abusing a boy and girl during this assignment. See police reports 1 2.

DC 3/4, 3/3. Priests were Revs. Lawrence J. Wempe, Paul J. Gozaloff, Powderly, and Maurice Joy. In 1970, Rev. Raymond F. Castaldo replaced Joy. In 1971, Rev. Anthony R. Griffin replaced Gozaloff. In 1972, Rev. Robert J. Petrella replaced Castaldo. Petrella was convicted in 1997 of sexually abusing a boy during this assignment. In the 1974 Directory, Powderly is shifted to "in residence," and Griffin is gone. In the same Directory, Powderly is no longer listed at Mackin HS. In 1974, Rev. Ralph C. Torsiello replaced Wempe as pastor. In the Washington archdiocese. Parish school had 658 pupils in 1969-70.
1969 1973 Mackin High School
- 1421 V St. NW
- 2200 California St. NW (from 1971)
Washington DC In 1969-70, personnel were Bro. Ralph Jaworsky CSC, Supr. and Prin.; James J. Powderly; Mr. Daniel Curtin, Asst. Prin. In 1972 Directory, Powderly is first identified as chaplain.

In the Washington archdiocese. School had 350 students in 1969-70.

Listed here, but indexed only to St. Thomas More (see previous entry).


Archbishop was William W. Baum (1973-80), cardinal from 1976


Archbishop was James Hickey (1980-2000), cardinal from 1988


Archdiocesan Consultant on Alcoholism Problems
- 4235 4th St. SE
- St. Mary's in Rockville (1975-)

Name changed to Consultant on Alcoholism in 1982 Directory.

Name changed to Consultant on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse in 1989 Directory.

    For Powderly's activities in this archdiocesan position, see a 1983 article and a 1991 article with a letter to the editor. Both articles pertain to Powderly's work on teen alcoholism. In the 1993 Directory, Powderly is also listed in a new Special Ministries section, with the ministry Substance Abuse Coord.
1975 1998

St. Mary's


• Alleged abuse referenced above continued into this assignment. See police reports 1 2.

MD 3/3. Priests were Revs. William J. Silk, Thomas P. Kelly, and (in residence) Powderly. In 1978, Rev. Klaus W.J. Sirianni replaced Kelly. In 1980, Rev. James B. Taltavull replaced Sirianni. In 1983 Directory, the rectory personnel became Revs. Adam J. Kostick, Mark F. Hughes, and Powderly (still in residence). In 1988, Rev. John M. Barry replaced Hughes and Deacon Matthew McCartin arrived. In 1991, Kostik became a monsignor. In 1991, Rev. G. William Finch replaced Barry. In 1996, Rev. Stephen M. Cocca replaced Finch.

In the Washington archdiocese. School had 561 students in 1975-76. By the 1982-82 school year, enrollment had dropped to 351 students. The 1992 Directory lists the CCD enrollment (341) for the first time. School enrollment had dropped to 235 for the 1991-92 school year.

Powderly officiated at least one wedding at another parish, St. Bartholomew's in Bethesda, on 1/27/96. See NY Times 1/28/96.

1986 1998 Our Lady of China Rockville MD   In the 1987 Directory, this mission begins to be attended from St. Mary's in Rockville, but it is listed with its own priest, Rev. Louis A. Tou. In 1993, Rev. Paul Tsau replaced Tou.
1998   Retired       Powderly continued to be listed as the Consultant on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse in the 1999 Directory after his retirement, but his Substance Abuse Coord ministry is no longer listed.


Archbishop was Theodore E. McCarrick (2000-2006), cardinal from 2001

10/8/04 Cardinal O'Boyle Residence for Priests Washington DC Rev. Joseph A. O'Brien was the rector through 2000.  
2001 10/8/04 Nick's Place Beltsville MD A founding board member of this "recovery house for young men 18-25 who have completed a treatment program for addiction/alcoholism." See newsletter.
10/8/04   Died        

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1959-2005).

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 Powderly's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations in reports to the police. 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 June 9, 2009.