Ex-Chaplain Removed from Priesthood

The Cincinnati Post
March 30, 2006

A former chaplain of Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading has been removed from the priesthood by the Vatican.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati reported Wednesday that the Rev. Thomas Brunner's petition for laicization from the priesthood was approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

Laicization means a priest may no longer function as such.

Brunner was removed as pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Troy in September 2003 because of a new church law that said a priest who has offended against a child can't continue in ministry.

He has been on administrative leave since then, barred from doing priestly functions.

In 1985, the principal of Mount Notre Dame in Reading reported that two students made accusations against Brunner that he didn't deny. He left the school, received counseling and returned to work.

In 1989, a young woman reported that Brunner had abused her in the 1970s. He received a psychological evaluation that found he could continue in the ministry.

In November 2003, two former Mount Notre Dame students sued the archdiocese and Brunner in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, accusing him of molesting them as high school students. The suit sought damages of more than $1 million.

The suit was dismissed, but is pending on appeal before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1974, Brunner served on the Mount Notre Dame faculty from then until 1985.

While on the faculty, he served as associate pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Reading until 1978, when he became a resident associate at St. John the Evangelist in Deer Park. In 1983, he became associate pastor at Good Shepherd Parish in Montgomery.

After he left Mount Notre Dame, he became full-time associate pastor at Good Shepherd. In 1988 he became pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Anderson Township. He was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Troy in 1995.


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