Assignment Record– Rev. Martin J. Walsh

Summary of Case: Ordained for the Boston archdiocese in 1974, Walsh assisted at parishes in Waltham, Swampscott, Malden
and Somerville, and he was chaplain for a time at Malden High School. An alcoholic, Walsh was in and out of treament during
his career. In 1997 an accusation emerged that he sexually abused a 14-year-old boy during the 1970s, and that there may have
been other victims. The disclosure is said to have been by the victim just before he died of cancer. Walsh relapsed in 1997 and
went on leave of absence. By 2002 he was on permanent disablilty. He died June 21, 2007. Walsh was accused in a lawsuit settled
in December 2014 of sexually abusing a minor at a Waltham parish in 1975. As of March 2016, the Review Board deemed the
allegations against Walsh "unsubstantiated."

Born: 1948
: May 18, 1974
Died: June 21, 2007


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Boston archbishop was Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

1981 Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted


In 1997 a woman called the archdiocese to report that a friend disclosed to her, just before he died at age 36 of lung cancer, that Walsh had sexually abused him at age 14 during Walsh's time at this parish. He suspected that two of his friends who were altar boys at Our Lady's were also abused by Walsh. The woman further said that the dying man told of two incidents - one at an upstate New York family party, and another at Walsh's cabin at Chalk Pond, NH. (Memo from Sr. Rita McCarthy 12-12-97)

Walsh was accused in a lawsuit settled in December 2014 of sexually abusing a minor in 1975, while assigned to Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted. (Boston Globe, March 28, 2016.)

MA 3/4, 2/3

Parish had a school with 123-249 students.


Walsh denied the charges. (memo from Rev. William F. Murphy 1-6-98)

1981   St. John the Evangelist Swampscott MA associate pastor  
Nov. 1981 March 1982 Sick Leave        


Medeiros was succeeded by Bernard Francis Law (1984-2002).

1984 Immaculate Conception Malden MA 2/5, 3/6 Parish had a grade school with 446-462 students and a high school with 18-165 girls.
1984 1993 Malden Catholic High School Malden MA Chaplain

Malden Catholic was run by the Xavierian Brothers and had 790-500 students, all male

Walsh is referred to as Rev. Martin J. Walsh, Jr.

Records show that Walsh was treated at Our Lady's Hall during the summer of 1988, due to concerns related to drinking. Our Lady's was a residence in Milton MA for troubled priests. Walsh was arrested in Feb. 1991 in New Hampshire for driving while intoxicated. He was in and out of treatment over the years.

1989 1997 Sacred Heart Malden MA 4/4, 3/3, 2/2 Parish had a school with 463 students.
1997 2002 Absent on Leave       Walsh had a relapse into alcohol abuse and was placed on Leave. Cardinal Law wrote to Walsh in November 2002 that he was "impeded from the exercise of orders due to psychic infirmity." However, there was nothing formal in place and Walsh was not, in fact, restricted from ministry. (Strictland memo 11-04-03)


Law was replaced by Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. (2003-).

2007 Permanent Disability/St. Joseph's Somerville MA  

Died June 21, 2007.

Per Walsh's obituary he assisted at St. Joseph's in Somerville "the past few years". (The Pilot
June 29, 2007)

Per the Archdiocese in 2011, the Review Board found the allegations against Walsh to be unsubstantiated. (National Catholic Register, August 25, 2011)

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1975-2008)

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 Walsh'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 April 11, 2016.