Fr. James McShane – Diocese of Burlington

Father James McShane 

Diocese of Burlington

Ordained: 1966

Removed: 2002

Resigned: 2003

Assigned as follows:

  • 1967-1993      Boy Scouts 
  • 1969-1995      Vermont Army National Guard 
  • 1966-1971      St. Mary (St. Albans, VT)
  • 1971-1973      St. Peter (Vergennes, VT)
  • 1973-1976      St. John Vianney (South Burlington, VT)
  • 1976-1982      Camp Holy Cross (Burlington, VT)
  • 1982-1987      St. Patrick Fairfield, VT)
  • 1987-1992      St. Alphonsus Pittsford, VT)
  • 1992-1998      St. Charles Bellows Falls, VT)
  • 1998-2002      Immaculate Heart of Mary (Rutland, VT)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James McShane:

Father James McShane served as a priest in Vermont for approximately 36 years. Much of that time was spent with children in his roles as Chaplain for the Boy Scouts, Diocesan Youth Director at Camp Holy Cross, and as director of the state church’s Office of Youth Ministry.

According to media reports, in 1975 or 1976 counselors at the camp found 80 photographic slides of naked boys in Father McShane’s cabin. The camp director and two other men reported it to then Bishop John Marshall, who admonished them for having been in the cabin. No action was taken.

“I was shocked and surprised … (McShane) had these,” one of the former counselors said in a 2002 interview with the Free Press. “They were of kids outdoors, in the woods, with no clothes on.”

In May 2002, Father McShane was one of six Vermont priests accused of molesting children years earlier, and under investigation by the attorney general. He was placed on administrative leave. In January 2003, he resigned as pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

In October 2002, Father McShane was named in a lawsuit alleging that he “had the opportunity to, and did molest and otherwise sexually abuse a number of pre-teen and teenage boys.” The lawsuit added the diocese had “actual knowledge” of some of McShane’s alleged misconduct “but took no action to remove him from the priesthood or to investigate his well-known proclivities.”

One accuser said Father McShane repeatedly sexually abused him as a 12-year-old altar boy around 1970.

“I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again from this man and others. This is something that has torn me apart recently,” he said.

In 2004, one suit was settled for $120,000. 

In August 2019, his name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Burlington’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. His current whereabouts are unknown. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Burlington.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Burlington, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Burlington 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 adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.