The Service Record Project has launched a project to gather and post the service records of every U.S. Catholic priest who has been accused of sexual abuse since 1940, so that vulnerable communities can be identified and bishops' transfer policies can be determined.

See below for a brief description of service records and their importance, links to sample service records, and easy ways that you can help with this project. For a more detailed account of service record research and how you can volunteer, see our guide.

Service Records: Why They Are Important

A service record lists all the diocesan and parish appointments of a priest, including telltale periods of sick leave. A detailed service record, like this service record of John Geoghan created by the Boston Globe, identifies populations that have been placed at risk, and is also cross-referenced with a list of accusations, so that the transfer policies of the priest's bishops can be evaluated. By identifying a priests' seminary class and the colleagues with whom he has worked, a service record can also begin to identify the circle of colleagues who kept the priest's activities secret and may even have been involved in the abuse themselves.

Service records are all around us:
* Newspaper accounts of the crisis
* Diocesan records
* Investigative files
* Obituaries and other old newspaper reports

But these records are dispersed and difficult to find, and complete service records for most accused priests are not publicly available. We urge the U.S. bishops to publish detailed service records with treatment episodes and accusation dates for every abuser. In the meantime, we are undertaking this work of research and collection ourselves.

The Archive of the Service Record Project

The staff at has begun to assemble a library of service records for accused priests and others who figure in the crisis. View two samples: {1} and {2}

Volunteering for the Service Record Project

Please send us any service records that you come across:
* In your daily newspaper reading
* In your personal experience, if you are a survivor of abuse
* In the research that you've done, if you are a lawyer or a reporter working in this area

If you would like to join the Service Record Project as a volunteer -- for a few hours, or a few hours per week, or anything in between -- please read our guide to service record research, and email us to let us know you're interested. This is work that you can do at a local Catholic college library or at most central city libraries, and you can email, snail mail, or even phone us the results.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.