Rev. Thomas Sebastian Schaefer—Assignment Record

Summary of Case:

: 1953
Incardinated: Washington archdiocese


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes


Archbishop Patrick A. O'Boyle (1947-73)


Holy Name

Washington NE

H. Schaefer is accused of sexually abusing and attempting to sodomize 8th-grader Michael Donovan in 1956. Schaefer is alleged to have groomed Donovan in the rectory (top photograph, building on the right), and to have attacked him during a wrestling match in the parish's eighth-grade school building (bottom photograph).

DC 3/3. Pastor was Rev. Maurice King. Other priest was Rev. Christopher T. Twohig. In 1954 King left and Rev. Wilbur F.X. Wheeler became pastor. In 1957 Wheeler left and Rev. John J. Dressel became pastor. Parish school had 746 children (see second and third photos at left).
10/26/57 9/23/61

St. Stephen's (Martyr)

Washington NW DC 3/3, then 2/3. Pastor was Msgr. Joseph F. Denges and the other priest was Rev. James V. Lannon. Denges was a pro-synodal judge and assistant vicar for religious. Lannon left in 1958, Schaefer moved up to associate, and Rev. Francis W. Krastel became the third priest. Immaculate Conception Academy, the parish high school, had 354 girls.
9/23/61 9/24/66

St. Andrew the Apostle


Silver Spring

C. Schaefer is accused of abusing a boy here. See article on accuser's interview with police.

MD 2/2. Pastor was Msgr. Joseph B. Coyne, director of the Holy Name Society.

Parish school for grades 1-4 had 203 children in 1960-61. In 1965-66 the school was expanded to grades 1-8 and had 535 children.

Treatment: Schaefer was sent away for treatment twice in the 1960s.

9/24/66 2/25/71 Sacred Heart


E. Schaefer pled guilty to sodomizing a boy at this parish and at Holy Angels, beginning in 1966 when the boy was 11 years old. See articles on the charge, the plea, and the sentence.

MD 1/1. Pastor.

Parish children attended school at Holy Angels parish in the town of Avenue, where there were 247 pupils. Schaefer lived at the Holy Angels rectory (see next entry). The previous pastor had also lived in the Holy Angels rectory.

Treatment: At least one of Schaefer's two visits to a treatment center in the 1960s took place during a leave of absence from this assignment at Sacred Heart, according to assignment information released by the archdiocese.

9/24/66 2/25/71

Holy Angels


Avenue MD 2/2. In residence. Pastor was Rev. Richard A. Hughes. Rev. John J. Madigan became pastor in 1967. Schaefer lived in the Holy Angels rectory while working at Sacred Heart in Bushwood. The Holy Angels parish school, where children from Sacred Heart attended, had 247 students.
2/25/71 2/10/72

St. Francis de Sales

Washington NE DC 1/2. Pastor. Rev. Robert E. Cousins was the other priest. Parish school had 374 children.


Archbishop William W. Baum 1973-80)


St. Matthias the Apostle


A. Schaefer pled guilty to abusing John Doe at this parish, beginning when the boy was 11 years old. Schaefer also showed the by pornography and too pornographic photographs of him. Schaefer also shared the boy sexually with three other priests: Smith, Pritchard, and Hartel (see column to right). Schaefer continued to abuse Doe at St. John's, his next assignment. See the story that broke this case, a profile of John Doe, and a judge's rejection on SOL grounds of Doe's civil suit.

  1/2. Pastor. Rev. Dennis Clark was the other priest. In 1973, Clark was replaced by Rev. James M. Cooney. In 1974, Cooney was replaced by Revs. Edward B. Pritchard and John T. O'Neill. Pritchard is accused of abuse. When Schaefer left in 1976, accused priest Alphonsus M. Smith replaced him as pastor. Parish school had 526 children.


Archbishop James A. Hickey (1980-2000)


St. John the Evangelist


• Schaefer admits that abuse of the Lanham victim continued here until 1978.

• Schaefer abused a 13-year-old boy who worked at the parish.

• Another boy was sexually assaulted here 1979-81.

• Prosecutors say Schaefer performed sex acts on a 12-year-old boy here.

  1/2. Pastor. Other priest was Rev. Aloysius T. Newman. Parish school had 318 children.
11/3/82 11/7/83 Leave of Absence        
11/7/83 7/1/86

St. Hugh's

7/1/86 1/20/95 Carroll Manor Nursing Home Hyattsville MD    
1995 present Vianney Renewal Center Dittmer MO    

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kennedy & Sons, 1954-2005).

- 4 Area Priests Removed for Past Sexual Abuse: Same Altar Boy Involved in '70s Incidents, by Laurie Goodstein and Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (2/6/95)
- Letter to the Editor, by Marge Lenane, about the Previous Article (3/4/95)
- Second Priest Had History of Pedophilia, Church Says, by Debbi Wilgoren and Laurie Goodstein, Washington Post (2/8/95)
- 4 Pedophile Priests Being Investigated, by Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (2/9/95)
- Another Ex-Altar Boy Reports P.G. Priest Abused Him, by Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (2/11/95)
- Group Says It Forced Church to Expose 4 Pedophiles, by Greg Seigle, Washington Times (2/12/95)
- Priest Surrenders, Faces 3 Sex Counts: Police Call Him Child-Sex 'Ringleader', by Greg Seigle, Washington Times (2/18/95)
- Support Group Reports About 40 Calls Accusing Local Priests, by Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (2/21/95)
- Four Priests Indicted on Sex Charges: PG Grand Jury Cites Nine Abused Boys, by John Mercurio, Washington Times (3/15/95)
- Priests Face New Charges of Abusing Boys in P.G., by Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (3/15/95)
- Priest Abused Him, Says Former Altar Boy, by Rob Hiaasen, Baltimore Sun (4/23/95) [in-depth profile]
- Priests Charged with Abuse to Get Mild Plea Bargains, by Arlo Wagner, Washington Times (7/21/95)
- Two Priests Plead Guilty to Sexually Abusing Boys, by Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (8/5/95)
- Priest Sentenced to 16 Years, by Timothy W. Maier, Prince George's Journal (10/20/95)
- Priest Gets 16 Years for Sex Abuse, by Philip P. Pan, Washington Post (10/20/95)
- Prison Term Suspended for Priest Guilty of Abuse, by Philip P. Pan and Debbi Wilgoren, Washington Post (3/7/96)
- Md. Court Closes Another Door on Childhood Sex Abuse Cases: Statute of Limitations Bars Suit Against Catholic Church, by Catherine M. Brennan, [Baltimore MD] Daily Record (12/11/96)
- John Doe v. Archdiocese of Washington et al., Maryland Appeals Court Decision Affirming That Abuse Case Is Time-Barred (2/26/97)
- Cevenini et al. v. Archbishop of Washington, DC Appeals Court Decision Affirming That Abuse Case Is Time-Barred (2/12/98)
- Quest to Heal Leads Abuse Victim to Face Old Demons, by Caryle Murphy, Washington Post (3/20/06)

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 Diamond's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with ... as it is reported in the media. 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 5/27/06.