The Orange Diocese is spinning yarns. But the truth is in the documents

I love paperwork.

Yesterday, the Diocese of Orange issued a statement responding to the latest sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against Fr. Richard T. Coughlin. In it, they said:

Richard Coughlin was ordained in the archdiocese of Boston in 1953 and incardinated in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in the 1960s, predating the Diocese of Orange, which was founded in 1976. Coughlin left parish ministry upon founding the All American Boys Choir in the early 1970s. Coughlin never served as a priest of the Diocese of Orange. (emphasis mine)

They’re parsing words here. The diocese is trying to say that after 1976, when the Diocese of Orange was formed, Coughlin did not serve as a priest in any official capacity. Are they trying to say that he’s the chorus’ responsibility? I don’t know.

But the truth is far different. Here are photos of the 1993 Diocese of Orange Catholic Directory. Yes, I have a copy. I am that weird.


The third priest in the top row—the one RIGHT UNDER the word “SERVING” is Richard T. Coughlin. Here is a closeup. (Excuse the marks in the book. It’s a used copy).



But it gets better. When it comes to the “official” listing of priests in any diocese, the bible, so to speak, is The Official Catholic Directory (OCD). It is the authoritative source. EVERY listing must be approved by every diocese and archdiocese. In fact, it is so precise, that the Catholic Church in the United States submits the OCD to the IRS every year to establish their tax exempt status and the placement of priests and other U.S. religious (priests who belong to religious orders).

In 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993, Coughlin is listed as a priest of the Diocese of Orange on special assignment with The All-American Boys Chorus.

The diocese might say, “See?! He’s on Special Assignment. He’s not our priest.” Sorry that doesn’t work. Other priests on special assignment are Msgr. John Urell, one of the diocese’s most powerful priests at the time and the “bishop’s man” when it came to the cover up of abuse. And he also said Mass every Sunday at the parish where he was in residence. Now, he’s a full-time parish priest.

Here is the listing from the 1990 OCD (yes, it’s tiny. Forgive me):

Here is the OCD listing from 1991:

Note: For those of you who have been following these stories for a while, you’ll see that there are a number of other names that are familiar: Franklin Buckman, Eleuterio Ramos …

I also have the listings from 1992 and 1993. I can get the listings going back to 1976.  But I’m a horrible graphic artist and no one wants to look at page after page of proof that the Diocese of Orange is lying to you.

You get the point: Coughlin was a priest of the Diocese of Orange. He served in the Diocese of Orange with the full permission and blessing of the bishop. Period.

If the Diocese is going to lie to you about this—something that I can prove with their own paperwork, available in their own libraries—what else are they going to lie to you about?



14 thoughts on “The Orange Diocese is spinning yarns. But the truth is in the documents

  1. His niece told me in 1963 why he left town. Unfortunately the best Priest that I new at St. Clements when he found out he suffered a nervous breakdown.

  2. It is tragic that the Diocese of Orange has been allowed to deceive the faithful for so many years. However, the Diocese has had lots of help from unethical attorneys that ignored cries for help from children so they could continue RICO crimes, without accountability in a court of law. Too many sex crimes against children continued and one person to blame is DA Rackauckas. He failed file criminal charges before statute of limitations expire on too many sexual predators. DA Rackauckas also failed to extradite Roger Alan Giese from the UK. Maybe someone should sue the DA for legal negligence for failing to hire an attorney who specializes in extradition matters. Giese molested while using his influence within the All American Boys Choir and Diocese of Orange. Thank you to courageous victim for speaking out…..may you find justice and peace.

    1. This Priest was ‘Never’ proven guilty’ in a court of law.. Many of us knew him, traveled with him in the 1950’s and even showered and slept in the same bed with him and never once did he advance his ‘personna’ upon us… from our early years to Teen.. we benefitted from his sports teams, donations of meals for those of us who did not have any available money, or transportation and he would drive around and pick us up to take us to the games be it baseball or basketball…We were and are a close knit community here in Stoneham Mass. We know ‘each other’ and we ‘talk as boys do and never ‘once’ did any rumors ever get out that Father Coughlin was ‘diddling’anyone..
      When.. was he ‘actually’ tried.. This is and has been a ‘feast’ for money..and I will be happy to come to his defense or recommendation any time at all…Frank ‘ Lefty’ Pignone Stoneham Mass.

      1. Wow your logic is quite askew. Let me get this straight, because it didn’t happen in your presence then it didn’t happen at all? Does that make sense to you? I agree with you that people should be tried and go through a fair trial BUT it doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened. If you have had the chance to come to his defense and voiced it, I sure hope a victim of his wasn’t close enough to hear you and become even more triggered than they already are. I hope that you realize victims like my husband who is a victim of Father Coughlin, remained quiet for many years when he was a child because everyone around him thought that monster was a “good” man and he didn’t want to embarrass HIM. I hope that you start to inform yourself more about what victims like him go through at such a young age and how monsters like Coughlin “groom” their victims. And I hope that fucker is dead!

        1. I was an original member of the All American Boys Chorus from 1969 to 1972. Back then it was known as the St. Anthony Claret Barbershop Chorus. We were based at St. Anthony Claret Church in Anaheim, CA. There were 12 boys in the chorus, all ages 11 and 12. I traveled to Europe in 1970 on a tour with the Chorus and Fr. Coughlin was our director. His dream was always to grow the Chorus into a world famous group. Today the Chorus is based in Santa Ana CA and is still viable, growing and successful. I learned of one allegation of sexual assault several years after I left the chorus by one of the original members in our group. This allegation caused me major heartache. I can say that Fr. Coughlin was nothing but a gentleman in his relationship with me and my family. He gave me the confidence and courage to succeed in life. Today I have a viable accounting practice and I am a Bureau Chief with a major metropolitan sheriff’s office. As a law enforcement professional for the past 38 years, I have investigated many allegations of sex assault. I have helped prosecute many suspects. As I reflect on my experience with Fr. Coughlin, I can say that I never observed behavior which would be construed as “grooming.” But I also understand that because I didn’t observe it or experience it that it didn’t happen. My heart goes out to the victims.

          1. Bob, I was also a member of the Chorus in the early years. Perhaps you don’t remember Joe Beckman or Eric Zapala. The Zapala family was close to ours. Fr. Coughlin destroyed Eric’s life. He never really recovered. That priest was a monster.

          2. Please comment on the fact that priests pick and choose victims. A predator knows the more vulnerable.

      2. I am one of his victims from the early 1960’s when the church ‘hid’ him in California after he had been abusing young victims in MA. And yes, I was ‘diddled’ by him. The church continues to be involved in major cover-ups of these perverts and I hope they eventually go completely bankrupt and disappear from the face of this earth. The catholic church is EVIL!

    1. The problem is the fact that the church has destroyed or hidden a lot of the documents including the records of why Coughlin was transferred to California in around 1966 when he molested ME. They have also destroyed or hidden the documents of my phone call with Monsignor Urell when I called to report my abuse in 1993. The catholic church is corrupt and full of these pedophiles that they continue to protect.

    1. A message from a now retired Placentia, CA PD detective: “After 30 years at Placentia PD, I had one single regret — that I was unable to have Coughlin prosecuted. I interviewed his victims decades after the molestation but they cried as they recounted their stories as if it had happened yesterday. One man, sadly, later committed suicide. People do not have an understanding of or appreciation for the scorched-earth devastation sexual abuse can cause. It is not just the sex. It’s the emotional and psychological damage that can last a lifetime. That’s why it is so insidious. I hope your friend can get the help and comfort he needs and understand that this crime, no matter how many instances, does not define his value or who he is. I do not want Richard Coughlin or any molester to have one second more of control over their victim’s lives. Do not give away your power to anyone!,”

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