Fr. Archibald McDowell (Holy Cross) – Archdiocese of New Orleans

| May 20, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Archibald McDowell

Archdiocese of New Orleans

Ordained: 1933


Died: 1994

Assigned as follows:

  • St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX)
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (Mid-City, LA)
  • University of Portland (Portland, OR)
  • University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Archibald McDowell:

Father Archibald McDowell was a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross order, who served in multiple states throughout the country. He served as director of the Family Rosary Crusade movement, as president of the regional American Catholic Philosophical Association and was featured on a regular local television program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Portland.

According to media reports, Father McDowell was accused of molesting an 11-year-old boy in 1956. In a 1958 letter written to him from the Provincial of the order, Father Theodore J. Mehling, it was noted that Father McDowell already had two canonical warnings about his conduct on file, and a third could lead to expulsion. One of the earlier warnings was for fondling two high school boys. It did not specify where the alleged abuse occurred.

“When, for God’s sake, are you going to learn to keep your hands to yourself?” wrote Father Mehling, who had since moved to Indiana.

“We can move you, but where I don’t know…Change of place seems futile. Perhaps we can find an institution where you can get psychiatric treatment.”

Father McDowell was permanently removed from ministry in 1962, more than 10 years after accusations were first received. Despite his removal, the Catholic Sentinel newspaper ran a story celebrating his jubilee in 1973. He died in 1994 at age 89.

In 2002, the man he allegedly abused as a boy in 1956 filed a lawsuit. In 2003, the Archdiocese paid $10,000 to settle the claim.

In July 2019, his name appeared publicly on the Congregation of Holy Cross order’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. It noted multiple allegations of abuse received in 1949 through the 1950s. It indicated the alleged abuse occurred in the 1950s in Indiana, Louisiana and Oregon.

In July 2019, his name appeared publicly on the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ list of clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  The Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for federal bankruptcy protection in April 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss your legal options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the New Orleans Archdiocese.

Very strict filing deadlines will soon be set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today.  Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to [email protected].