Judge Changes Mind; Family Suing Vianney Priest Can Remain Anonymous

KSDK [St. Louis MO]
February 23, 2006

St. Louis County Judge Carol Whittington has had a change of heart on whether the family suing the president of Vianney High School can remain anonymous.

Wednesday, Judge Whittington signed an order after John Doe 26, and his son, John Doe, filed suit against Father Robert Osborne, the president of St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood. The suit alleges that Father Osborne sexually touched the student.

The judge first ordered that the anonymity must end. But Kenneth Chackes, the attorney for the family, countered with a request the order be rescinded. Chackes says publicizing the family's name would subject the teenager to ridicule and humiliation in the community.

However, an attorney who has represented several priests in similar cases, says it would be good to shine daylight on this case. Attorney James Martin says the family has already been through a previous sex abuse case, and publicity would do little damage.

Thursday evening, Judge Whittington reversed her previous order, and ruled that the suing family can continue to be listed as John Doe on the legal papers.

Meanwhile, the names of the family in question, the father, the alleged victim, his brother, and the boys' mother, are all included in a lawsuit filed in Lincoln County.

In that case, the father and two sons are suing a Jewish summer camp, saying the camp directors knew the boys were being sexually molested by their mother, and the camp did nothing to protect the boys.

The suit says the mother worked as a cook at the camp, and molested the boys when they visited her as part of court ordered custody arrangements.

The mother is currently serving a prison term for molesting the same teenager who is accusing the priest. That case ended in January, when the mother was sentenced to prison.

Prosecutors say the woman assaulted her son in 1999, when he was 10 years old. But the case wasn't prosecuted until 2003. The incidents at the summer camp happened between 1999 and 2000, but weren't reported until May 2005.

Newschannel 5 is not naming the family in this story, since it is our policy to protect the identity of sexual abuse victims.


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