Assignment Record – Rev. John R. Thatcher, s.j.

Summary of Case: A priest of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus ordained in 1947, John Thatcher spent his early career teaching at Jesuit high schools in Tacoma and Spokane, Washington. From 1957-1983 he was assistant priest at St. Ignatius parish in Portland, Oregon, and again 1983-1994. During the intervening decade Thatcher assisted at St. Aloysius in Spokane. He retired to Regis Jesuit Community in Spokane in 1994 and died in 2003. Thatcher was accused in a claim against the Portland, Oregon archdiocese of having sexually abused a 6-year-old boy in 1963.

: 1947
Died: Nov. 19, 2003


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State/Country Position Notes


San Francisco archbishop was John Joseph Mitty (1935-1961).

1948 Alma College Alma CA    


Seattle bishop was Gerald Shaughnessy, s.m. (1933-1950).

1949 Manresa Hall Port Townsend WA tertianship  
1949 1953 Bellarmine High School Tacoma WA   Bellarmine High had 376-350 students, all male.


Spokane bishop was Charles Daniel White (1926-1955).

1954 Gonzaga University Spokane WA    


White was succeeded by Bernard Joseph Topel (1955-1978).

1957 Gonzaga Preparatory School Spokane WA Gonzaga Prep. had 647-682 students, all male.


Portland archbishop was Edward Daniel Howard (1926-1966), followed by Robert Joseph Dwyer (1966-1974).

1973 St. Ignatius


• According to a claim against the Portland archdiocese, Thatcher was accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old boy in 1963. The priest was said to have shown the boy pornography and fondled his genitals, among other sex acts.

OR 3/3, 2/3 St. Ignatius had a school with 530-278 students.


Topel was replaced as Spokane bishop by Lawrence Harold Welsh (1978-1990).

1983 St. Aloysius Spokane WA 5/6, 4/4, 3/3, 3/4 St. Aloysius had a school with 380-310 students.


Portland bishop was Cornelius Michael Power (1974-1986), followed by William Joseph Levada (1986-1995).

1994 St. Ignatius Portland OR 3/3, 3/4, 2/2, 2/3 St. Ignatius had a school with 275-258 students.


Spokane bishop was William Stephen Skylstad (1990-2010). in

2003 Regis Jesuit Community Spokane WA   Thatcher died Nov. 19, 2003.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1948-2005)

Boys' Shame Helps Conceal Ugly Truth, By Michael Wilson, The Oregonian, October 16, 2000
Obituary, Rev. John Thatcher S.J., Spokesman Review [Spokane, WA], November 26, 2003
[Portland Claims], [Oregonian, November 12, 2006]

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 Thatcher's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. 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 May 12, 2014.