Assignment Record– Rev. Robert (aka John) Turnbull, O.S.A.

Summary of Case: Turnbull, an Augustinian priest ordained in 1965, was a longtime teacher and athletic director at Austin Prep High School in Reading, MA. In 1981 he was reportedly moved abruptly to Naples FL to another high school, and in 1984 to a Flourtown, PA parish where he appears to have assisted until 1991. At some point later he lived and worked St. Lucia in the West Indies. In 1996 he is known to have been at his Order's monasteries in Villanova, PA until his death in 2000. Turnbull was accused in a 2001 lawsuit of having sexually abused two Massachusetts boys, the younger of them from 1979-1981, starting when the boy was 12 years-old. The older brother was an Austin Prep student. Turnbull died in 2000.

Ordained: November 6,1965
Died: February 21, 2000


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Philadelphia archbishop was John Joseph Krol (1961-1988).

1966         Turnbull is not indexed in the 1966 Directory. Per his obituary he was ordained November 6, 1965 at St. Denis' in Havertown PA. (Philadelphia Inquirer
February 24, 2000)


Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970), followed by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

1981 Austin Preparatory High School


Accused in a 2001 lawsuit of having sexually abused two brothers from Tewksbury MA, one of whom was an Austin Prep student, and the other his younger brother. The younger brother claimed he was 12-years-old when the abuse began, that it involved "all forms of abuse" and that it went on for three years, until Turnbull moved abruptly to Florida in 1981. The incidents of abuse are said to have occurred at Austin Prep, at North Meadow Tennis Club, and at a cabin at Lake Winnepasaukee, NH. (NH A.G. Report March 3, 2003)

MA physics and statistics teacher; athletic director Austin Prep had 680-530 students.


Miami archbishop was Edward Anthony McCarthy (1977-1994).

1984 St. John Neumann High School Naples FL  

Turnbull is not indexed in the 1982, 1983 or 1984 Directories.

This assignment is per Turnbull's obituary. (Philadelphia Inquirer
February 24, 2000)


Philadelphia archbishop was John Joseph Krol (1961-1988), follwed by Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (1987-2003).

1991 St. Genevieve's Flourtown PA 3/5, 2/4, 2/5 Parish had a school with 267-180 students.
      St. Lucia West Indies Administrator This assignment is per Turnbull's obituary, which reported he was at a parish on St. Lucia for two years, sometime after his Flourtown PA assignment.
1991 1996         Turnbull is not indexed in the 1992-1997 Directories.


Philadelphia archdiocese

1998 St. Augustine Friary Villanova PA    
1998 2000 St. Thomas Monastery Villanova PA   Turnbull died February 21, 2000.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1966-2001)

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 Turnbull'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 August 26, 2010.