Riley, Rev. Leo P. – Assignment History

Summary of Case: Accused on 12/10/14 of sexually abusing a minor in 1985 in Dubuque IA. A 2/18/15 letter by Dubuque Archbishop Jackels announcing the allegation was reprinted in the 3/1/15 church bulletin of the parish where the abuse is alleged to have been committed, after the archdiocese received the accuser's lawsuit on 2/10/15 and the review board deemed the allegation "not manifestly false or frivolous" on 2/11/15. A preliminary investigation was begun then. Riley had worked in 16 Dubuque parishes since 1982 and had been transferred to the Venice FL diocese in 2002, to be near his parents, according to Jackels. He was placed on temporary leave by Venice Bishop Dewane sometime between 1/4/15 and 1/11/15, pending the results of Dubuque's investigation. Riley "strenuously denies" the allegation. Jackels announced 7/12/15 that his investigation did not find the allegation to be true; survivor stated result was incomplete. Riley reportedly passed a polygraph test. Riley took a leave and then returned to St Peter the Apostle in Naples in 10/15.

: 1982
Education: University of Iowa (Degree in Business 1978); St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana
Incardinated: Dubuque 1982-2006; Venice 2006-present


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes
1982 1983 St. Joseph Cresco IA 2/2. Archdiocese of Dubuque.
School with 164 students
1982 1983 Holy Cross Schley IA 2/2 Mission of St. Joseph.


Archbishop Daniel W. Kucera OSB of Dubuque (1983-1995)

1984 St. Patrick Dubuque IA 2/3 Archdiocese of Dubuque.
Consolidated school at nearby St. Mary's with 319 students.
1984 1986 Resurrection


• The 3/1/15 church bulletin for this parish reprinted a 2/18/15 letter by Archbishop Michael O. Jackels, stating that Riley had been accused on 12/10/14 of abusing a minor at this parish in 1985. On 2/10/15 a legal complaint was received from the archdiocese, according to Jackels, and on 2/11/15, the review board deemed the accusation "not manifestly false or frivolous," and a preliminary investigation was begun. The survivor came forward on 3/24/15, stating that the abuse began in October 1985, when he served as an altar boy before school at Riley's morning Mass.

IA 2/2. Pastor was Rev. John R. Gallagher. Archdiocese of Dubuque.
School had 353 students in 1984-1985.
1986 1990 Immaculate Conception Charles City IA 2/2 Archdiocese of Dubuque.
School had 252 students.
1986 1990 St. Mary Roseville IA 2/2 Archdiocese of Dubuque. Mission of Immaculate Conception.
1990 1994 St. Patrick Buffalo Center IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque.
1990 1992 Sacred Heart Woden IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque. Considered a mission of St. Patrick's in Buffalo Center in 1990-1991; thereafter listed as a parish.
1990 1994 St. James Forest City IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque.
1990 1994 St. Patrick Lake Mills IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque. Considered a mission of St. James in 1990-1991; thereafter listed as a parish.


Archbishop Jerome G. Hanus OSB of Dubuque (1995-2013)

1999 St. Peter Clermont IA


A parish history notes: "Because of the large number of children in the parish [St. Peter's] it was decided to begin using the rectory as an additional classroom space. An auction was held for the contents of the home, including the beautiful table and chairs and other furniture made by Father Downing. Two bedrooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs were combined to make two large classrooms as well as two small classrooms, an office for the Director of Religious Education and storage space."

Archdiocese of Dubuque.

CCD classes are not listed in the 1996 Directory. In the 1997 Directory 103 CCD students are listed (Robert Fassbinder DRE). In the 1998 Directory, 105 CCD students are listed (Mary Olson DRE). In the 1999 Directory, 249 CCD students are listed (Olson).

In 1994-1999, the Directory lists the St. Bridget rectory as Riley's residence, and lists the St. Peter's rectory as the mailing address for St. Peter's.

1994 1999 St. Bridget Postville IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque.
1999 2002 St. Patrick Dougherty IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque. The 200 Directory lists 58 CCD students. See article about this assignment.
1999 2002 Holy Name Rockford IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque. The 2000 Directory lists 114 CCD students.
1999 2002 Sacred Heart Rockwell IA 1/1 Archdiocese of Dubuque. The 2000 Directory lists 153 CCD students.
1999 2000 St. John's Oratory Cartersville     Archdiocese of Dubuque. Served from St. Patrick's in Dougherty.


Bishop John J. Nevins of Venice (1984-2007)

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice (2007-present)

2009 St. Charles Borromeo Port Charlotte FL

4/4 in the 2003 Directory: Revs. Nicholas McLoughlin, Jean-Marie 'Fritz' Ligonde (from Newark), Thomas Wantland (from Marquette), and Riley (from Dubuque). Dubuque Bishop Jackels states: "he transferred in 2002, not because of other accusations, but to be close to his parents."

2/4 in 2006, when he becomes a Venice priest.
1/3 becomes pastor in 2008. The next year he was demoted to parochial vicar at Punta Gorda (see next entry).

Diocese of Venice.
School with 315 students in 2002-2003. The 2003 Directory lists 300 CCD students.

Riley is listed as a Dubuque priest on duty outside the diocese until 2006, when he begins being listed as a Venice priest.
2009 2013 Sacred Heart Punta Gorda FL 2/2 Diocese of Venice. The 2010 Directory lists 129 CCD students.


Bishop Michael O. Jackels of Dubuque (2013-present)

2015 St. Peter the Apostle


• Put on temporary leave by Bishop Frank Dewane after he learned of the Dubuque allegation. Riley is still listed in the 12/28/14 and 1/4/15 church bulletins, but has been removed in the 1/11/15 bulletin.

FL 2/2. Riley arrived at St. Peter's on 6/10/13. Diocese of Venice. The 2014 Directory lists 514 CCD students.


  St. Peter the Apostle


Reinstated after Archbishop Jackels of Dubuque announced on July 12, 2015 that “the best information available does not support a reasonable belief that the allegation is true.” A private investigator hired by the archdiocese had interviewed the survivor shortly before Jackels' announcement. Riley reportedly passed a polygraph test.

  After his reinstatement, Riley took a leave of absence and then returned to St. Peter the Apostle in October 2015. Diocese of Venice. The 2014 Directory lists 514 CCD students.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1983-2014).

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 Rev. Leo Riley's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with an allegation of abuse described by Bishop Michael O. Jackels in a letter reprinted in a church bulletin. 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 October 15, 2015.