Assignment History– Rev. Joseph A. Schuster

Summary of Case: Joseph A. Schuster was ordained for the Diocese of Buffalo in 1966. His first year in ministry he was the sole priest at St. Isadore's in East Otto, via the diocese's Missionary Apostolate. He then assisted in Buffalo and Niagara Falls parishes, and taught mathematics at the Diocesan Preparatory Seminary. He was also a boy scout camp chaplain. Schuster was well-known for his social justice activism and involvement with the poor and disenfranchised. In 1972 he lead the establishment of a Catholic Worker House in Niagara Falls, where he spent the remainder of his priesthood. In early 1991 Schuster announced that he was taking a leave of absence; he did not return to active ministry as a priest. He went on to marry a man and adopt three sons. He died in 2007 at age 68.

On March 30, 2018 - at 3pm on Good Friday - a man held a press conference on the steps of St. Peter's Cathedral to announce that in 1968, at age 13, he was the victim of sexual assault by Schuster. The man said that after an event at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Niagara Falls it had gotten too dark out to ride his bike home, so Schuster invited him to stay overnight at the rectory. The man said Schuster instructed him to sleep in his bed, then proceeded to molest him.

Schuster's accuser had come forward to the diocese on March 12, 2018. The diocese released a list of credibly accused priests and lay employees and volunteers on March 20, but it included only those who were deceased if they had more than one known accusation against them. Schuster's name was not included on the list.

: February 12, 1939
: 1966
Died: July 23, 2007


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Diocese of Buffalo

Bishop was James Aloysius McNulty (1963-1972).

1967 St. Isadore East Otto NY


Schuster was assigned to St. Isidore's via the Buffalo Missionary Apostolate, which provided small, rural parishes with newly ordained priests.



    Scouthaven Freedom NY chaplain This is per Schuster's obituary. Scouthaven was a boy scout camp.
1967 1968 Holy Name of Jesus Buffalo NY 2/3 Msgr. Edward J. Walker; Rev. Joseph A. Schuster; Rev. James E. Wall. Holy Name of Jesus had a school with 285 students.
1968 1970 Diocesan Preparatory Seminary Buffalo NY mathematics instructor, head of math department The seminary had 134-88 high school students and 50-46 college students.


McNulty was succeeded as Buffalo bishop by Edward Dennis Head (1973-1995).

1974 Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Niagara Falls

On March 30, 2018 - Good Friday - a man claimed publicly that when he was 13 years old in 1968, Schuster sexually assaulted him in the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel rectory, where Schuster was staying. The man said that after an event at the parish it was too dark for him to ride his bike home, so Schuster invited him to sleep over. He said the priest instructed him to share his bed, then molested him.


2/2, 2/3

1970-1973: Revs. Bernard J. Magee; Joseph A. Schuster.

1973-1974: Revs. Bernard J. Magee; Joseph A. Schuster; Michael P. Zuffoletto.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had a school with 286-239 students.

Schuster's accuser chose 3pm on Good Friday, on the steps of St. Joseph's Cathedral, to make his public announcement. The diocese had released a list of credibly accused priests and lay people on March 20; Schuster's name was not included; the diocese included the deceased only if they were the subject of more than one accusation. The man said he came forward to the diocese on March 12.

1974 1978 Catholic Worker House Niagara Falls NY Director  
1978 1983         Schuster is not indexed in the 1979-1983 Directories, and the Catholic Worker House is not listed in the Buffalo pages for those years.
1983 1990 Catholic Worker House Niagara Falls NY Director

Schuster is not indexed beyond the 1990 Directory. He reportedly took a leave of absence in 1991, later saying he had resigned from the priesthood.

1990 2007         Schuster went on to marry a man and adopt three sons. He was known for his involvement with human services and social activism, which he continued until his death.

He died July 23, 2007 at age 68.

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.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1967-1990).

Joseph A. Schuster, retired priest who was devoted to helping the poor, the hungry and the homeless, Buffalo News, July 27, 2007 
List of Accused, Diocese of Buffalo, March 20, 2018
 Breaking a 50-year Silence on Priest Abuse, by Philip Gambini, Niagara Gazette, March 30, 2018
 Local Man Marks Good Friday with Claim of Sex Abuse by Catholic Priest, WBFO, March 30, 2018
 Another Former Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse, by Jenn Schanz, WIVB, March 30, 2018
 50 Years Later, Man Accuses Prominent Niagara Falls Priest of Molesting Him as a Child, by Dan Herbeck, Buffalo News, April 4, 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 Schuster's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported 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 April 19, 2018.


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