Seattle Archdiocese Puts Priest on Leave Again after Sex-abuse Allegations

By John Iwasaki
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

July 7, 2008

The Catholic church is investigating a Monroe priest following a recent allegation of sexual abuse of a minor in the late 1960s, the Seattle Archdiocese reported Monday.

The Rev. Michael C. OBrien, pastor of St. Mary of the Valley Parish since July 1999, agreed to take a leave of administrative absence at the request of Archbishop Alex Brunett.

OBrien previously was on leave from St. Mary in 2004 following a separate allegation of child sexual abuse. He returned to the parish after the archdiocese's review board dismissed the allegation for lack of credible evidence. The board is a panel of clergy, criminal justice and mental-health experts.

That board is investigating the current allegation against OBrien and is expected to deliver a recommendation to Brunett.

"Based upon the findings, I will either reinstate Father OBrien as pastor or continue his administrative leave pending action by the Vatican," Brunett said in a statement.

OBrien, a native of Enumclaw, was ordained to the priesthood in 1965. He has served at seven churches in Washington: St. Peter in Suquamish, Our Lady of Lourdes in Vancouver, St. Ann in Tacoma, St. James Cathedral in Seattle, St. Michael in Snohomish, St. John in Vancouver and St. Mary.

Brunett urged anyone with knowledge of allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a member of the clergy, an employee or volunteer of the archdiocese to call the archdiocesan hotline at 800-446-7762.

P-I reporter John Iwasaki can be reached at 206-448-8096 or


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