Friday, February 18, 2011

Priests accused

Sexual abuse lawsuit filed against retired Catholic priest
The Kansas City Star
An unnamed Missouri man has filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against a retired Catholic priest and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The suit, filed in Jackson County District Court, alleges that Thomas J. O’Brien sexually abused the man when he was an 11-year-old student in St. Elizabeth Parish in Kansas City in the 1970s.

The suit contends that two other priests, who are not named as defendants, “parroted” some of O’Brien’s actions and made “lewd and inappropriate” comments in front of the boy.

It accuses the diocese of covering up and concealing O’Brien’s activities. According to the suit, the man making the allegations “has only recently recovered memories of the sexual assaults.”

O’Brien has been named in numerous sex-abuse lawsuits.

In a written response, the diocese noted that O’Brien has been retired from parish ministry since 1984 and has been restricted permanently from representing himself as a member of the clergy since 2002.

“As the diocese does not know the identity of the person filing the suit or have any further information, it cannot comment on the substance of the complaint,” according to its response.

One of the priests accused in the suit of making inappropriate comments, Michael Tierney, was the subject of a sex-abuse suit filed last October.

But an independent review board determined that there was no credible claim against Tierney and recommended that he remain as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City, according to the diocese.

Attorneys for Tierney have filed a motion seeking to dismiss that suit.

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