Fr. Paul McLaughlin – Diocese of San Bernardino

| Sep 27, 2019 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Paul McLaughlin

Diocese of San Bernardino

Ordained: 1955

Removed: 2021

Assignment History:

  • 1955-1956: St. Ann Parish (Peabody, MA)
  • 1956-1958: Church of Christ the King (Richland, WA)
  • 1958-1962: St. Joseph’s Rectory (White Salmon, WA)
  • 1962-1966: St. Agnes Parish (Arlington, MA)
  • 1966-1972: St. John the Evangelist Parish (Swampscott, MA)
  • 1972-1977: Regis College (Weston, MA)
  • 1977-1985: St. Peter (Lowell, MA)
  • 1985-2001: Immaculate Conception Parish (Marlboro, MA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Paul McLaughlin

On September 13, 2021, the Archdiocese of Boston announced the Vatican found Fr. Paul McLaughlin guilty of child abuse and affirmed him to a life of Prayer and Penance. “Having been found guilty, [Fr. McLaughlin] is forbidden from all public ministry and from otherwise presenting himself as a priest,” a spokesperson for the archdiocese said in a statement.

Fr. McLaughlin’s sentence bars him from exercising any public ministry, including celebrating Masses, providing spiritual direction, and wearing clerical attire.

McLaughlin’s Removal and Initial Allegations

In September 2001, the Archdiocese of Boston placed Fr. McLaughlin on administrative leave after learning he allegedly abused a minor in the 1960s. However, a year later, three men publicly accused Fr. McLaughlin of abusing them when they were minors in the 1960s. According to one of the men who came forward, Fr. McLaughlin orally raped him when he was about 11 or 12 years old.

In a separate lawsuit, Fr. McLaughlin was accused of abusing a boy “at least 10 times from about 1967 to 1969.” During that time, the victim was 8 to 10 years old, and Fr. McLaughlin was assigned to St. John the Evangelist in Swampscott. In June 2021, the Archdiocese of Boston said they settled with the victim “in the high five figures”.

While much is unknown about the nature and scope of all the allegations made against Fr. McLaughlin, his personnel file revealed one instance where Fr. McLaughlin allegedly told two young boys to wrestle naked, Greco-Roman style. Fr. McLaughlin has denied these charges.

San Bernardino Implications

After his removal from the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Paul McLaughlin moved to California and worked part-time at St. Francis of La Quinta Church and celebrated Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Palm Desert from 2001 to 2002.

According to the Diocese of San Bernardino, the Archdiocese of Boston did not tell them of any allegations until September of 2002. “Once again, we are put in the untenable position of needed to explain the questionable residence from another jurisdiction against whom an allegation of sexual misconduct had been lodged”, a spokesman for the Diocese of San Bernardo said in a letter to the Archdiocese of Boston.”

McLaughlin’s Career and Whereabouts

Paul McLaughlin and the St. Agnes Troubadors, an all-boy choir formed by McLaughlin.

Ordained in 1955, Fr. Paul McLaughlin worked for nearly 50 years before he was placed on administrative leave in 2001. During the 1960s, Fr. McLaughlin also formed an all-boy choir. There were 41 boys in the choir who were between the ages of 8 and 13. They traveled the northeast with Fr. McLaughlin until he transferred to the St. John’s Parish in Swampscott.

At the time of Fr. McLaughlin’s removal in 2021, he would be approximately 91 years old. His whereabouts since his administrative leave are unknown.

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