Rev. Christopher J. Martin

Christopher J. Martin_1932.png

Basic Background Information

Birth:                   Dec. 25, 1900
Place:                   Tipperary, Ireland

School:                Christian Brothers School, Ireland
Immigration:   1919
Seminary:          St. Mary's Seminary, LaPorte, TX
Ordination:       June 8, 1924
Retired:              1972

Death:                 Dec. 1, 1989 

ADGH Listing Christopher Martin.jpg

Information on Clergy Disclosure List on the website of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Diocesan Disclosure List

 

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (ADGH) released its Clergy Disclosure list on January 31, 2019. Rev. Christopher J. Martin is listed, but the information is lacking critical information. His assignments are listed, but there are no dates.

 

There is no information on when and where the abuse occurred, or when the Archdiocese received the complaint. The information provided by the ADGH includes the names of the parishes to which he was assigned, his year of his birth, year of ordination, and year of death.

The Archdiocese does include erroneous information for Rev. Christopher J. Martin. The ADGH lists the dioceses to which Martin belonged as Galveston-Houston and the Diocese of Victoria. He was not, however, a priest in what is now the Diocese of Victoria.

 

He was also not assigned to Assumption Church in Houston.  In reviewing his assignment history and available archival documents, I was able to verify from his Naturalization Records, dated August 22, 1932 - that he was assigned to Assumption Church in Waco, McClennan County that is now a part of the Diocese of Austin.

 

Nor was he assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in Houston. He was assigned to Annunciation and Holy Name Churches - both of which show in the Official Catholic Directory that they service the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament school

  

I don't know how the ADGH could make such mistakes - unless it was intentional obfuscation to mislead people. They have his priest assignment records and every priest is required to filled out a Personal Data Form - like this one from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. They know exactly where and when he was assigned. 

 

After reviewing available archival documents and researching the history of Rev. Christopher J. Martin, I can make an educated guess at when and where he had issues based on the pattern and practices the Church employs when shuffling priests who sexually abuse minors. 

 

It is important to note that the Archdiocese doesn't include a priest on the list unless a complaint is formally submitted. However, when examining the predators now known, a pattern emerges of their migration through the diocese.  It is likely that the Archdiocese knew about the aberrant behavior of Martin - formal complaint or not. This would explain why Martin was transferred 7 times in the first 10 years of his active ministry, each time to a new county. 

Shuffling Predators

Looking at his many assignments the first 10 years of his active ministry, you can see he was transferred far away each time to a different county. Starting in Galveston, then Houston, then Beaumont (2 months only), then Bryan, Texas, back to Galveston, then all the way up to Waco. Finally landing back in Houston at Annunciation Church where I suggest he was supervised closely.

Click the map to enlarge. 

 

More explanation below as well as full assignment list. 

CJ Martin Assignment Path.jpg

The Bishops Knew

Rev. C.J. Martin clearly had a chaotic first decade. He was on the diocesan disclosure list, so we know he was a sexual abuser, and I think it's safe to say the diocese knew about his problems (hence the multiple moves).

 

It didn't hinder the diocese from celebrating him in the 1972 anniversary book: Changing Times: The Story of the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in Commemoration of Its Founding (1972)

Referred to as, "a man ahead of his time" whatever that means. He was at Holy Cross in Bay City, Matagorda County for 30 years until he retired in 1972. He would have had access to more minors with relatively little oversight in the small town from 1943 - 1972 when he retired. 

Of note is that when he retired in 1972, he stayed in Bay City until he died in 1989. He did not return to Houston to the diocesan retirement home. Maybe he never stopped abusing kids. A retired priest still has access to kids. 

 

The Archdiocese would be doing a service to the community if it revealed the parishes he was at when he offended. 

But, they're not going to do anything that helps a victim identify his or her abuser and come forward. This disclosure of Rev. Christopher Martin is riddled with errors and is misleading to those seeking information about a priest who abused them as a child.  

Christoper J. Martin, 1972.png
Title
Action
Notes
1924-1934:
7 assignments in 5 counties in the first 10 years of his active ministry: Galveston Co. Harris Co. Jefferson Co. Brazos Co. McClennan Co.
Red flag: That's a lot of transfers to different counties -- across the state. Could be he was being moved to different counties after incidents of abuse to keep law enforcement from tracking him.
1927 September 12
Returning from a two-month trip to Ireland, the Ship's Manifest shows his employer was All Saints, so he likely didn't know his next assignment had changed, or if he did, he didn't know he was assigned to Beaumont.
Red flags: He didn't know where his assignment was (shows he was not in touch with the diocese) and then he was only at St. Anthony's for 2 months. Seems like a rush to get out of the country, and then when he was back, a move to a different county. Next stop was Bryan, Brazos Co. Another way to hide an abuser: a rural setting and a different county.
1932
Transferred after 2 years at St. Patrick Church in Galveston to Assumption in Waco, 240 miles away. Stays in Waco only 1 year until transferred to Annunciation.
Red flag: A one-year assignment that was 240 miles away in Waco in 1932. Suggests he had to be moved far away from Galveston (again).
1933
Transferred to Annunciation in downtown Houston. He does have access to the elementary school of Blessed Sacrament.
Red flag: At Annunciation he was supervised by Rev. Anton Frank who was the head pastor there for 50 years. It is downtown, close to the Chancery and a place to keep a priest in line. This seems to be the turning point and he stops getting transferred every other year.
4 Two-month Trips to Ireland
1927, 1936, 1947, 1951
Red flag: 4 transatlantic trips for an assistant pastor that can't hold a job seems like the trips may have been a way to get him out of town after an incident.

Red Flags Along the Way 

Assignment List of Rev. C.J. Martin

Title
Assignment
County
Length of Time
1900
Born, Ballagh, Co. Tipperary
Ireland
1912
Ballagh National School, Co. Tipperary
Ireland
1917
Christian Brothers School, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Ireland
1919
Arrived from Ireland to seminary in LaPorte
Harris
5 years
1924
Ordained St. Mary's Seminary LaPorte
Harris
1925
St. Mary's Cathedral, Galveston
Galveston
1 year
1926
All Saints, Houston
Harris
1 year (March 1926-May 1927)
1927
Trip to Ireland returns Sept. 12, 1927
International Travel
2 months in Ireland
1927
St. Anthony's Cathedral, Beaumont
Jefferson
2 months (source: History of St. Anthony's book)
1928
St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Bryan
Brazos
2 years
1929
St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Bryan
Brazos
1930
St. Patrick's, Galveston
Galveston
2 years
1931
St. Patrick's, Galveston
Galveston
1932
Assumption Church, Waco
McClennan
1 year
1933
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
7 years
1934
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1935
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1936
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1936
Trip to Ireland Arrival Date: Sep 13, 1936
International Travel
2 months in Ireland
1937
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1938
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1939
Annunciation Church, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1940
Holy Name, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston May 1940
Harris
3 years
1941
Holy Name, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1942
Holy Name, Blessed Sacrament school, Houston
Harris
1943
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
30 years
1944
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1945
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1946
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1947
Arrival from Ireland October 2, 1947
International Travel
2 months in Ireland
1947
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1948
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1949
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1950
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1951
Departure Jul 13, 1951 Arrival from Ireland Sept. 24, 1951
International Travel
2 months in Ireland
1951
Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
1972
Retirement Holy Cross, Bay City
Matagorda
17 years
1989
Death, Bay City
Matagorda