Fr. Richard Coughlin – Diocese of Orange

Father Richard Coughlin

Diocese of Orange

Ordained: 1953

Suspended: 1993

Died: 2004

Assigned as follows:

  • 1954-1959      St. Patrick’s (Boston, MA)
  • 1960-1965      St. Mary’s (Lynn, MA)
  • 1966-1967      Immaculate Heart of Mary (Santa Ana, CA)
  • 1968-1972      St. Anthony Claret (Anaheim, CA
  • 1973-1974      St. John the Baptist (Costa Mesa, CA)
  • 1975-1985      St. Michael’s Norbertine Junior Seminary (Orange, CA)
  • 1986-1989      Unknown
  • 1990-1993      Special Assignment

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Richard Coughlin:

Father Richard Coughlin worked in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Archdiocese of Boston, and Diocese of Orange. In 1970 Coughlin founded the All-American Boys Choir, which was not funded by or affiliated with the Church. The choir traveled internationally and performed for Pope Paul VI at the Vatican. According to media reports, in 1985, a man reported to the Archdiocese of Boston that he was sexually abused by Father Richard Coughlin when he was a child from 1958 to 1962. He said the abuse occurred in Massachusetts and on trips to New Hampshire and New York. 

In December 1992 four men reported separately that Father Coughlin had molested them as boys. The men were ages 23-45, and all had been Boys Choir members between 1970 and 1983. One said his father told the Los Angeles archdiocese of the abuse in 1974, and to choir board members in 1990. Also in December 1992, the man who had reported Father Coughlin in 1985 again went to Father McCormack in Boston with his allegations. He was initially told that there was no record of his previous report. 

In April 1993, Father McCormack informed him that the complaint was found and that Bishop Banks had forwarded it to the Diocese of Orange. Orange officials said in 2002 that the complaint was never received. In February 1993, another man, who was a Boys Choir member from 1977 to 1980, reported abuse by Father Coughlin. He said he told choir management in 1979 that Father Coughlin was abusing him and two other boys. 

In April 2002, a man reported to the Oklahoma City archdiocese “inappropriate conduct” by Father Coughlin from 1968 to 1971. The report was forwarded to Los Angeles. In December of that year, Father Coughlin was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing a boy in Lynn, Massachusetts during 1962-1965.

Father Coughlin was suspended from ministry in January 1993, and ordered to sever ties with the Boys Choir. In 2016 he was permanently restricted from ministry. In March 2016, he was included on Attorney Garabedian’s list of accused clerics named in civil claims resulting in settlements or arbitration awards.

Father Coughlin was included in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. He was also included in the Diocese of Orange’s list of clergy removed from ministry resulting from a credible allegation of sexual abuse. Lawsuits against him in Southern California resulted in more than $3 million in settlements. His status, per the Diocese of Orange in August 2016, was a “Life of Prayer and Penance.” In February 2017, another lawsuit was filed alleging abuse of a Boys Choir member beginning at age 10. 

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