Assignment Record– Rev. Donald E. Shelander

Summary of Case: Donald Shelander was ordained for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1970. He was a pastoral assistant in Springfield and Urbana parishes, rising to pastor status in Urbana in 1977. He then led parishes in Bellefontaine and Newport, OH before retiring in 2002.

In late 2005 a man reported to the archdiocese that Shelander had sexually abused him during the late 1970s to early 1980s, when the man was 14 to 18 years-old and Shelander was pastor of St. Mary's in Urbana. Shelander denied the allegations. An internal investigation found "the semblance of truth" and Shelander was placed on leave in March 2006. The Vatican ordered a canonical trial, which determined that the allegations could not be proven. Shelander was allowed to return to active ministry in February 2009.

Ordained: 1970
Retired: 2002


Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Archdiocese of Cincinnati

Archbishop was Paul Francis Leibold (1969-1972), followed by Joseph Louis Bernardin (1972-1982).

1974 St. Bernard's Springfield OH 3/3, 2/2

St. Bernard's had a school with 204-216 students.


Bernardin was succeeded as Cincinnati archbishop by Daniel Edward Pilarczyk (1982-2009).

1984 St. Mary's


Shelander was accused in late 2005 of "inappropriate sexual behavior" during his time at St. Mary's with a 14 to 18-year-old boy. Shelander denied the accusations.

OH 2/2, 1/1 St. Mary's had a school with 235-162 students.
1984 1994 St. Patrick's Bellefontaine OH 1/1 St. Patrick's had a CCD program with 296-235 students.
1994 2002 SS. Peter and Paul Newport OH 1/1 SS. Peter and Paul had a CCD program with 155-223 students.
2002 2006 Retired Cincinnati OH    
2006 2007         Shelander is not indexed in the 2007 Directory. He was placed on leave in March 2006 after an archdiocesan investigation into allegations, brought to them in late 2005, of sexual abuse of a teenage boy in the late 1970s-early 1980s were found to have "the semblance of truth."
2007 2009 Priests on Administrative Leave/Retired Cincinnati OH   Shelander was cleared to return to ministry in February 2009 after a canonical trial determined that the allegations against him could not be proven.


Dennis Marion Schnurr replaced Pilarczyk (2009-).

2016 Retired Cincinnati OH  


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, 1971-2016).

Retired Priest Suspended for Late '70s Urbana Allegations, The Associate Press, via The Beacon Journal, March 15, 2006
 Retired Priest Suspended over Sex-Abuse Allegations, By Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer, March 15, 2006
 Retired Priest on Leave after Sex Accusation, Dayton Daily News, March 16, 2006
 Former Priest Here Put on Leave, Springfield News-Sun, March 16, 2006
Retired Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse, Columbus Dispatch, March 17, 2006
Suspended Priest Returns, By Dan Horn, Cincinnati Enquirer, February 2, 2009
Retired Priest, Accused of Child Abuse, Restored to Active Ministry, By Meredith Moss, Dayton Daily News, February 2, 2009
Panel: Allegations against Ohio Priest Unproven, WTTE, February 2, 2009
Victims, Church Still Trying to Pick up Pieces, By Tom Beyerlein, Dayton Daily News, April 22, 2007

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 Shelander'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 December 30, 2019.


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