Msgr. Michael Higgins – Diocese of San Diego

Monsignor Michael Higgins

Diocese of San Diego

Ordained: 1964


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)
  • 1979                Unknown
  • 1980                St. Therese (San Diego, CA)
  • 1981                Unknown
  • 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


Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Michael Higgins: 

Monsignor 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, Monsignor 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 him 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.”

Monsignor 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.  He 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 Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in California, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims. Contact us at (954) 641-2100 (or toll-free at (888) 283-9922). Email us at