Fr. James Tully (Xaverian priest) – Diocese of Paterson

Father James Tully

Diocese of Paterson

Ordained: 1975

Laicized: 2009

Assigned as follows:

  • 1970                St. Brendan’s (Bellingham, MA)
  • 1975-1978      Xaverian Center (Holliston, MA)
  • 1978-1985      Xaverian Foreign Missions (Makeni, Sierra Leone)
  • 1985-1990      Xaverian Missionary Fathers College (Franklin, WI)
  • 1990-1992      Unknown 
  • 1992                Institute of Living (Hartford, CT) 
  • 1993-1994      Holy Family Monastery (Farmington, CT)
  • 1994-1998      Xaverian Foreign Missions (Makeni, Sierra Leone)
  • 1998-2002      Xaverian Foreign Missions, (Location unknown)
  • 2002-2007      Union of Superiors General (Rome, Italy)
  • 2007-2008      (Vicenza, Italy)
  • 2008-2009      Xaverian Missionary Fathers (Wayne, NJ)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James Tully:

Father James Tully was a priest of the Xavierian order. He was a missionary for many years in Sierra Leone and Guinea. According to media reports, Father Tully was accused of sexually abusing boys in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and in Sierra Leone. He has also been accused by a former Xaverian seminarian of sexual assault. 

In 1992, Father Tully pleaded no contest to “disorderly conduct” after giving three minor boys alcohol and grabbing the inner thigh of one of them during a baseball game in Wisconsin. He was sentenced to two years probation and sent to the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut, which specializes in sexual disorders and has treated hundreds of priests.

In a 2002 letter to the Archdiocese of Boston, Father Tully was accused of having sexually abused a parishioner at St. Brendan’s in Bellingham, MA, in 1970. He was sent to Rome and assigned to a non-ministerial position.

In 2005, a $75,000 out-of-court settlement was reached with a Massachusetts man who alleged that Father Tully sexually abused him at the Xaverian Seminary in Milwaukee when he was a 21-year-old student there in the late 1980s. This man later went on a mission to have the priest defrocked.

“I had my own experience and I was horrified about it. I’m angry that the church has allowed a man to function in the church in this religious order for 30 years. And that’s criminal,” he told the Associated Press in a telephone interview.

In late 2008, Father Tully relocated to New Jersey. He was laicized in January 2009.

In May 2010, a man from Sierra Leone accused Father Tully of sexually abusing him and other boys between 1978 and 1985. The man said the priest would ply them with palm wine and demand oral sex from the boys.

“He would want us to play with his penis, to arouse him; not even to just play with it but to put it in your mouth,” said his accuser.

As of November 2008, Father Tully has been living at the Xaverian Missionary Fathers residence in Wayne, NJ.

His name was not included in the Archdiocese of Boston’s Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States.

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