Inquiry Finds No Criminal Conduct by Ex-Vianney High President
By William C. Lhotka and Heather Ratcliffe
Post-Dispatch [St. Louis MO]
October 11, 2006
A criminal investigation of allegations that the Rev. Robert Osborne, the former president of Vianney High School, molested two students has ended with no criminal charges.
"We reached the conclusion there was no evidence at all of criminal conduct," St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch said Wednesday.
Osborne, 73, has always denied the accusations. He remains a defendant in a civil suit filed in February by one of the alleged victims. That case is set for trial in April.
Brother Stephen Glodek, head of the Marianist Province of the United States, the Roman Catholic order that operates the boys' school in Kirkwood, said: "We are just very happy that was the resolution of the investigation. We still face the civil suit from the same parties, and we are awaiting that resolution."
Besides Osborne, Vianney High School and the Marianist Province are defendants.
Speaking for Osborne, his attorney, J. Martin Hadican said Wednesday, "Father Osborne is elated with the outcome and grateful for the thorough investigation."
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon outside the Marianist Province offices on West Pine Boulevard, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were first to reveal the end to the criminal probe.
"We are disappointed that no criminal charges are being filed against Osborne now, but hope that others who he manipulated and exploited will come forward soon," said Barbara Dorris, a SNAP member.
McCulloch said that if additional complaints against Osborne were made, they also would be investigated.
The prosecutor praised the efforts of the Kirkwood police, particularly Detective Geoff Morrison, who, he said, conducted an extensive investigation. An attorney in McCulloch's sex crimes unit reviewed the information and re-interviewed the youth who had filed the civil suit and a second Vianney student who had made allegations.
In the Vianney newsletter in September, Osborne said he had been removed from the school because of "unresolved legal matters." He said then that he would vigorously defend himself and was confident he would be vindicated.
Diane Guerra, a spokeswoman for the order, said at the time that Osborne's removal by a six-member Marianists' provincial council was based on the fact that preparing for the pending civil suit would be a distraction from his job of running the school.
SNAP National Director David Clohessy said prosecutors must meet a high bar to file criminal charges, and added, "It's really tempting but naive and reckless to assume this is an exoneration."
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