Msgr. Michael Higgins – Diocese of San Bernardino

Monsignor Michael Higgins

Diocese of San Bernardino

Ordained: 1964

Removed: 1982

Died: 2016

Assigned as follows:

  • 1964-1965: St. Rose of Lima (Chula Vista, CA)
  • 1966-1967: St. Francis (Vista, CA)
  • 1968-1970: St. Didacus (San Diego, CA)
  • 1971-1972: St. Pius X (Chula Vista, CA)
  • 1973-1975: Higher Studies
  • 1976-1978: Our Mother of Confidence (San Diego, CA)
  • 1980: St. Therese (San Diego, CA)
  • 1982: Guardian Angels (Santee, CA)
  • 1983-1984: On Sick Leave
  • 1985: On Duty Outside the Diocese; St Mary’s (Bird Island, MN)
  • 1986-1987: On Duty Outside the Diocese; (San Diego, CA)
  • 1988-1991: Unassigned
  • 1992: Disabled
  • 1993-1999: Unassigned
  • 2000-2015: Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Michael Higgins:

Msgr. Michael Higgins served as a priest in Corona, Riverside, Lake Arrowhead, and Chino throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He founded and was the executive director of Justice for Priests and Deacons. Formed in 1997, the San Diego-based nonprofit group of 90 canonists was dedicated to defending the rights of clergy accused of sexual misconduct, embezzlement, or other wrongdoing. 

According to media reports, in 1980, Higgins was accused of soliciting sex in a confessional. He denied the allegation, but in 1982, he was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse. When he was removed from the priesthood, he appealed his case to the Vatican. 

In 1987, he tried to sue Bishop Maher and other officials in the Diocese of San Diego, alleging that he was falsely accused of sexual misconduct. The court said even if his complaints of libel, invasion of privacy, and other mistreatment were true, courts should not intervene, stating that “one who enters the clergy forfeits the protection of the civil authorities in terms of job rights”.

Higgins has claimed that the Vatican reversed Bishop Maher’s decision and that he was a “retired priest”. The Diocese of San Diego denied this claim, saying that the Pope affirmed the decision to remove his privileges.

Higgins died in October 2016.

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