Ex Cathedra: Personnel Bile No. 7: the Choir Master

By Gustavo Arellano
Orange County Weekly
April 14, 2005

[See also other articles by Gustavo Arellano.]

On April 12, eight former Diocese of Orange priests or workers accused of child molestation asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to block the release of their personnel files. The move again delayed the release of about 30 boxes of documents that priestly sex abuse victims and their lawyers claim will prove Catholic Church leaders knowingly protected pedophilic employees.

One of the objecting priests was Richard T. Coughlin. For years, he headed the Costa Mesa-based All-American Boys Choir, a group that has travelled the globe and performed before dignitaries. But, in 1993, Coughlin resigned after former choir boys approached the Orange diocese with claims that the priest had molested them repeatedly.

Coughlin—who still lives in Orange County—has always maintained his innocence even though then-Orange Bishop Norman McFarland found the 1993 allegations credible enough to defrock him. But, as the following documents show, 1993 wasn't the first time someone came forth with a Coughlin boy-fiddling tale.


To view documents pertaining to Coughlin's alleged pedo-past, please visit This website is a Massachusetts-based non-profit that makes depositions, articles, police reports, secret memos—really, almost any document imaginable pertaining to the national Catholic sex-abuse scandal—available for downloading. They've yet to establish an Diocese of Orange section, but only because—like the 87 plaintiffs who settled with the Orange diocese for a record-breaking $100 million—they're still waiting for the documents that Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown promised to release four months ago.

To view the exact link to the Coughlin documents, click here (