Fr. Joseph Thiesen (Theisen)

Diocese:  Archdiocese of New York

Summary of Assignments:

  • 1959-1960:  St. Agnes; Manhattan, NY
  • 1960-1970:  Immaculate Conception; Staten Island, NY
  • 1970-1981:  St. Gregory Barbarigo; Garnersville, NY
  • 1981-1983:  St. Raymond’s; Bronx, NY
  • 1984:  Not listed in 1984 Catholic Directory
  • 1984-1987:  St. Raymond’s; Bronx, NY
  • 1987-1994:  Absent on Sick Leave
  • 1994:  Laicized
  • 1/25/13:  Died


Allegations of abuse of male minors began to surface in 1987. Theisen was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete in New Mexico and was “Absent on Sick Leave.” He reportedly then became chaplain at the Heartland Center for Spirituality in Great Bend, Kansas, a retreat run by the Dominican Sisters of Great Bend, but stayed for only a short time.

In 1994, Theisen was was voluntarily laicized and the Archdiocese settled with three men who claimed that he sexually abused them as teens in the 1980s. Each received $20,000 and they were made to sign confidentiality agreements.

Theisen lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he died on January 25, 2013. In October 2017, he was the subject of settlement as part of the Archdiocese’s compensation plan.

Sources:  Journal News 04.19.02; Journal News 04.19.02; USA Today 11.11.02; Journal News 08.10.10; French Funerals-Cremations accessed 07.18.17; New York Daily News Assignment Record

Note: Years listed indicate editions of the Official Catholic Directory. Because of the publication schedule of the Directory, a priest listed at a parish in a given year was also likely at that parish for part of the previous year.