Rev. Patrick G. O'Donnell—Assignment Record

Summary of Case: Removed from ministry in 1985. Abused at least 65 boys in the 1970s-80s in Spokane and Seattle. Worked as a psychologist for teens in Bellevue after leaving the active priesthood. Sanctioned in 1984 for abuse while a priest. Sanctions lifted in 1986. Psycholoy license permanently removed in January 2004. At least two victims died by suicide. Named in new suit filed February 2008 by four people. Admitted guilt and settled November 2008 for $5M; unable to pay. Two plaintiffs settled before May 2009 trial; last two plaintiffs settled during trial. Settlements in May 2012. Name included on archdiocese's list of credibly accused in January 2016. In 2019 living in Mt. Vernon, WA.

: May 29, 1971


Start Stop Parish Town State Position Notes


6/73 St. Peter's Spokane WA 2/2, Assistant Pastor. Priests were Rev. Joseph Brunner and O'Donnell.

In the Spokane diocese.

Parish school had 213 pupils.

1/72 1973 Diocesan Youth Activities Spokane WA Assistant Director.  
1972 1973 Bishop White Seminary Spokane WA 3/3. Priests were Revs. John P. Donnelly, George Haspedis, and O'Donnell.

Seminary had 31 students in 1972-73.

The 1973 Directory indexes O'Donnell to this address and lists him at the seminary, not calling him in residence. But in his Boy Scout listing, he is shown as residing at the seminary.

4/72   Boy Scouts Spokane WA Diocesan Chaplain.  
6/73 9/73 St. Augustine's Spokane WA Assistant Pastor. The 1973 Directory does not list O'Donnell here or at St. Mary's (see next entry). Instead, he is listed at Bishop White Seminary.
9/73 8/74 St. Mary's Spokane WA 2/2, Assistant Pastor. Priests were Revs. Walter F. Abel and O'Donnell. Parish school had 221 pupils in 1973-74.
8/74 1976 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Spokane WA 2/2, Assistant Pastor. Priests were Revs. William S. Skylstad and O'Donnell. In the 1977 Directory, Skylstad and O'Donnell are both gone, Skylstad to become chancellor and O'Donnell indexed to the chancery, where he continues to be listed as Boy Scout director. That listing has him residing at Assumption, but he is not listed at the church. However, he is listed at St. Paul's in Seattle (see next entry).

Parish school had 220 pupils in 1974-75.


1976 1978 St. Paul's Seattle WA 3/3, 4/4. Priests were Revs. Gerard F. Lovett, John W. Clark, and O'Donnell. In 1977, the lineup became Revs. Lovett, Ronald W. Knudsen, James Deady, and O'Donnell. When O'Donnell arrived, Lovett was assistant director of Catholic Children's Services.

Seattle archdiocese.

Parish school had 260 pupils.

This listing in the 1977 and 1978 Directories (data collected in Fall 1976 and 1977), is inconsistent with the 2002 summary in the Spokane diocesan newspaper, which states that O'Donnell went to Seattle in late 1978.

1976 1978  U.S.Veteran's Hospital  Seattle WA    Reportedly said masses here on Saturdays. 
1976 1978Family Counseling Services Seattle WA Intern. Seattle archdiocese
1978 1979 Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes Spokane WA 5/5. Priests were Revs. Bernard L. Schiller, Paul S. Vevik, Msgr. Oakley F. O'Connor; and in residence, Revs. John M. Steiner and O'Donnell. Steiner was chancellor and director of liturgy. Schiller was director of Legion of Mary. This assignment, listed in the 1979 Directory (data collected in Fall 1978), is not consistent with the 2002 summary in the Spokane diocesan newspaper, which states that O'Donnell was in Seattle until late 1979.
9/79 5/85 Holy Rosary Rosalia WA 1/1. Pastor.  
9/79 5/85 St. Catherine of Alexandria Oakesdale WA 1/1. Pastor. Mission of Holy Rosary in Rosalia.
9/79 5/85 Immaculate Conception Garfield WA 1/1. Pastor. Mission of Holy Rosary in Rosalia.
5/85 11/85 St. John Vianney Spokane WA



O'Donnell is not indexed or listed in the 1986 Directory (data gathered in Fall 1985).

Parish school had 173 students in 1985-86.

: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1972-86); Sexual Abuse Accusations Strike Six Who Served As Priests in Spokane Diocese, by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Inland Register, November 14, 2002. See also:
Spokane Diocese Faces New Allegations of Past Abuse, by Jonathan Martin, Spokesman Review, August 15, 2002
Priest's Abuse Still Haunts Diocese, by Jonathan Martin, Spokesman-Review, August 24, 2002
Diocese, Priest Sued in Sex Cases: 10 Allege Abuse by Pastor, Inaction by Church, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, September 27, 2002
Ex-Boy Scout Sues Group, Spokane Diocese, Associated Press, October 19, 2002
More Suits Target Diocese, Ex-Priest, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, January 31, 2003
Ex-Priest, Accused of Abuse, Turns in Psychology License, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, January 16, 2004
The Past Shadows a Bishop's Future, by Jonathan Martin and Ken Armstrong, Seattle Times, October 27, 2004
Two Priests Cross Paths in Spokane, Seattle Times, October 27, 2004
Rev. Patrick O'Donnell: Another Big Election, by Paul Seebeck, Website of Discrimination in the BSA, approximately November 10, 2004
Lawsuits Filed against Seminary Alleging Officials Knew of Abuse, Associated Press, March 19, 2005
Disturbing Connections Emerge: Sexual Abuse Allegations, Cases Hint at Spokane's Shameful Side, by Bill Morlin, Spokesman-Review, July 31, 2005
Compensating for the Sins of the Fathers, by Michael Newall, National Catholic Reporter, November 10, 2006
Pair Allege Sex Abuse at Boys' Ranch, by Benjamin Shors, Spokesman-Review, January 4, 2007
Sex-Abuse Accusers Can Sue Priest Trainers, by Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press, May 23, 2007
Statement Regarding His Recollection ... Concerning Pat O'Donnell, by Bishop William Skylstad, Diocese of Spokane Website, November 21, 2007
Non-Monetary Undertakings of the Spokane Diocese, Diocese of Spokane, November 21, 2007
'Free to Roam', by John Stucke, Spokesman-Review, January 27, 2008
Neighbors Find Child Molester Living down Block in La Conner, Associated Press, January 28, 2008
More Sex Abuse Allegations against Spokane Diocese Boys' Ranch, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 15, 2008
Restraining Order Sought against Serial Child Molester, KOMO, April 1, 2008
Ex-Spokane Priest Agrees to Pay Abuse Victims $5M, Associated Press, November 10, 2008
In a First for Seattle, Church Sex Abuse Suit Headed to Trial, by Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 5, 2009
Jury Selection to Begin Wednesday in Seattle Archdiocese Sex-abuse Trial, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 5, 2009
Church Sex Abuse Trial Opens in Seattle, by Chris Daniels, KING 5 News, May 12, 2009
Priest Tells Molestation Victims: "I'm Extremely Sorry", by Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 12, 2009
"I'm Extremely Sorry ... I Don't Expect Forgiveness.," Former Priest Tells Victims of Long-ago Sexual Abuse, by Ian Ith and Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 12, 2009
Trial Begins against Seattle Archdiocese As Ex-priest Faces Two Abuse Victims, by Janet I. Tu and Ian Ith, Seattle Times , May 13, 2009
Former Priest Testifies He Abused Other Boys in Seattle and Kept It Secret, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times , May 13, 2009
Trial Focuses on Priest's Abuse of "More Than 30" Boys, by Bryan Johnson, KOMO, May 13, 2009
Church Sex Abuse Trial Enters Day 2, by Chris Daniels, KING 5 News , May 13, 2009
Archdiocese Defends Vetting of Former Priest, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 13, 2009
Pastor: Seattle Archdiocese 'Made Mistakes', by Chris Daniels, KING 5, May 14, 2009
Priest: Every Diocese Has Secret Archives, by Bryan Johnson, KOMO, May 14, 2009
Expert: Hard to Believe Seattle Archdiocese Wasn't Warned about Abuse, by Bryan Johnson, KOMO, May 14, 2009
Putting Abusive Priests in Parishes Was Wrong "And We Are Sorry," Church Official Testifies, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 14, 2009
Molesting Priests Dealt with in 'Secrecy,' Local Church Leader Says: But Former Chancellor Says He Didn't Know Priest Was a Perpetrator, by Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 14, 2009
One Plaintiff Settles for $550,000 in Trial over Priest's Sexual Abuse: Hunthausen Denies Being Told Priest Was Child Molester, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 18, 2009
Hunthausen Denies Knowing Priest Was a Molester, by Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 18, 2009
Archbishop Faced Controversy before Sex Abuse Case, by Tim Klass, Tri-City Herald, May 18, 2009
Victim in Seattle Priest Abuse Trial Settles Case, by Eric Wilkinson, KING 5, May 18, 2009
Church Abuse Victim Settles, by Chris Daniels, NWCN, May 19, 2009
Former Archbishop Says He Wasn't Warned about Priest's Abusive Past, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 19, 2009
Last Plaintiff Settles in Priest Abuse Trial: Victim Says Abuse Began When He Was in Eighth Grade, by Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 19, 2009
Last Plaintiff in Trial against Seattle Archdiocese Settles for $700,000, Seattle Times, May 19, 2009
Last Plaintiff Settles in Priest Abuse Trial: Victim Says Abuse Began When He Was in Eighth Grade, by Vanessa Ho, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 20, 2009
Plaintiff in Abuse Case Recalls Torment by Priest, Examiner, May 19, 2009
Church-Abuse Plaintiff: It Was Never about the Money, by Janet I. Tu, Seattle Times, May 21, 2009
Seattle Archbishop Hopes Abuse Victims Heal after Cases Are Settled, Catholic News Service, in Georgia Bulletin, May 22, 2009
Boys' Ranch Reaches Deal, By John Stucke, The Spokesman-Review, May 26, 2012
Archdiocese of Seattle List, January 15, 2016
Former Spokane priest, admitted child sex abuse lives near schools in Mount Vernon, By Ian Smay, KREM2, January 13, 2020

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates O'Donnell's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory and other sources with allegations as they are reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report. We do not state or imply that individuals facing allegations are guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. The U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements.

This assignment record was last updated on May 27, 2021..