Fr. Donald Bolton – Diocese of Albany

Father Donald Bolton

Diocese of Albany

Ordained: 1952 Died: 2006

Assigned as follows:

  • 1952 - 1954       Mt. St. Alphonsus (Esopus, NY)
  • 1954 - 1959       Bela Vista (Mato Grosso, Brazil)
  • 1959 - 1962       Campo Grande (Mato Grosso, Brazil)
  • 1962 - 1967       Bela Vista (Mato Grosso, Brazil)
  • 1967 - 1969       Monte Alegre (Parana, Brazil)
  • 1969 - 1970       Rocio (Parana, Brazil)
  • 1970 - 1974       Notre Dame Retreat House (Canandaigua, NY)
  • 1974 - 1984       St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (North East, PA)
  • 1984 - 1987       Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica (Brooklyn, NY)
  • 1987 - 1990       Holy Family Retreat House (Hampton, VA)
  • 1990 - 2003       St. Alphonsus Villa (Redemptorist Fathers and Brothers, (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
  • 2003 - 2006       St. John Neumann Residence (Sarasota Springs, FL)
Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Donald Bolton: According to media reports, in 1986, the parents of a seven year old girl came forward to the Erie County District Attorney's Office with a complaint that Father Donald Bolton molested their daughter. They came forward after they learned that Father Bolton was working with children in New York. They had been promised by The Redemptorists, that he would never again be in a position to harm children. He was charged with indecent assault and corruption of minors. In 1987, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years' probation and agreed to enter a treatment program. Arrest records also noted that several other girls were molested as well, but the statute of limitations had already expired, prohibiting further prosecution. One of Father Bolton's victims later filed a lawsuit and received a settlement of $100,000. Her abuse began in 1976 when she was seven years old and continued until 1980 when she was eleven. The abuse started when Father Bolton came to her house to console her family over the death of a grandparent. The victim reported that Father Bolton held her on his lap and rubbed her back, legs, bottom, and rear. In 1977, when she was eight and practicing to make her First Holy Communion at St. Gregory, Father Bolton entered her side of the confession booth, slid his hands up her dress and pulled her panties down. He fondled her and rubbed his penis against her. He told her not to tell anyone because no one would believe a child's word against his word. She recalled this type of abuse occurred for nine months, at least every other week. Beginning in 1977 and continuing into 1978, Father Bolton took the victim and her five friends to the Peak 'N Peak ski resort in New York on several occasions. She explained that while Father Bolton drove, he assaulted her in the front seat. She described how Bolton would rub her genitals and poke her with his finger as though he was trying to put a hole in her pants. She recalled this as a physically painful experience. She recalled that it happened to her at least twice when she was eight or nine years old. In 1978 and 1979, the victim attended classes at St. Gregory. She reported that every other week, Father Bolton would have the nuns pull her out of class and send her to his bedroom in the rectory to help him with assignments. He would take off her pants and put her on his lap in a position that her back was to him. Father Bolton would rub his penis back and forth on her buttocks and vagina while he moaned and groaned. He told her that he was preparing her for womanhood, and often had his hand and fingers inside her vagina. When he came close to ejaculation he would move her slightly forward with his hand inside her vagina being careful not to ejaculate on her. In 1980, when the victim was eleven, her parents rented a cottage in a NY resort town and invited Father Bolton along for the family vacation. One day Father Bolton found her alone in her bedroom, closed the door, pulled off her bathing suit and turned her around. He began to masturbate himself while inserting his fingers into her vagina far enough inside her to hurt her. She recalled that the assault only stopped when he thought he was going to be discovered by a passerby. Father Bolton instructed her to be quiet about the abuse because she was a lying child and nobody would believe a lying child over a man of God's word. In 1993, the victim began to disclose the abuse and sought counseling. Father Bolton's Redemptorists Order paid $50,000.00 and the Diocese of Erie's insurance carrier paid the balance of her counseling fees. She reported that she never witnessed Father Bolton assault any of her friends, but believes they were also abused in the same way she was. According to Diocesan records, the complainant in Bolton's 1987 conviction was one of her friends. Other victims of Father Bolton came forward years later and also proved to be childhood friends of the girl. One victim was approximately the same age, between seven and eleven years old, when Father Bolton preyed upon her. She was offered assistance with counseling.  In another file, the mother of five children alleged that Father Bolton may have sexually assaulted four of them. The family was also offered counseling assistance. In 2001, another victim reported that Father Bolton sexually assaulted him. At the time, he was a fourth grade boy who was abused from 1976-1977.  The victim explained that Father Bolton "Wanted me to do things to him." He implied that these things that Father Bolton suggested were sexual and that Father Bolton asked this victim to touch him. The victim also said one day when he opened Father Bolton’s door without knocking, he saw Father Bolton with a young girl whose tights were down around her ankles. She was crying and Father Bolton yelled at him, "What the hell are you doing here?" Ultimately, the Diocese of Erie returned Father Bolton to the Redemptorists. He remained in ministry until his death in October 2006. Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Albany.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Albany, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Albany 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 to discuss your options today.