Fr. Lawrence Lovell – Diocese of Phoenix

| Aug 5, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Lawrence Lovell

Diocese of Phoenix

Lawrence Lovell sexual abuse


Ordained: 1951

Removed: 1986

Laicized: 1992

Assigned as follows:

  • >1976 – 1979          Sacred Heart Parish (Prescott, AZ)
  • >1980 – 1984          San Gabriel Mission Catholic Church (San Gabriel, CA)
  • >1984 – 1985          St. Anthony Anthony and Pius X (Phoenix, AZ)
  • >1984 – 1985          Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (San Gabriel, CA)
  • 1991                      Foundation House, Villa Louis Martin, Our Lady of Lourdes Novitiate (Jemez Springs, NM)
  • >1992                     University of New Mexico

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Lawrence Lovell:

According to media reports, Father Lovell was a member of the Claretian religious order, not a diocesan priest. As of January 2013, the Claretians have not released his full file. He served in Prescott and San Gabriel, California, and Phoenix before an allegation of child sexual abuse surfaced in California in 1985. He was placed on leave and sent to a treatment center in New Mexico.

In 1986, Father Lovell was convicted of repeatedly molesting a 14-year-old at San Gabriel Mission, where he had been in charge of altar boys from 1979 to 1984. He pleaded no contest, and received three years probation. Father Lovell was removed from ministry that year.

After being laicized in 1992, he then began working as a case manager for the University of New Mexico Mental Health Center.

A civil suit was filed against him in 1996.

In 2003, Father Lovell was accused of abusing children between 1976 and 1979 while serving as a priest at Sacred Heart Parish in Prescott. In March 2004, he was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of molestation of a child and sexual conduct.

In March 2003, Father Lovell was again accused of molesting four boys at San Gabriel Mission in California between 1980 and 1984. Prosecutors charged him with 11 counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 and he could have faced up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The charges, however, were dismissed when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that had attempted to erase the statute of limitations on old child molestation cases.

In late 2003, Father Lovell was accused of sexually abusing a boy who was 8 or 9 years old in 1984. The abuse took place in the St. Anthony rectory in Phoenix.

A civil suit was filed against him in December 2003.

As of February 2013, Father Lovell is serving a 26-year combined prison sentence after pleading guilty to cases in Yavapai and Maricopa counties.

The former priest, married with 3 stepchildren since 1995, was living in New Mexico at the time of his arrest on the Arizona charges. His wife knew he had been a priest but never knew of past allegations until his arrest in 2003.

Father Lovell was included in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Phoenix.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Phoenix, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Phoenix now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an email to [email protected] to discuss your options today.