Civil Lawsuit to Begin against Catholic Diocese Alleging Sexual Abuse
By Matt Stewart
July 8, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The civil trial against the Catholic Diocese will begin Monday, July 8. An Independence family is suing, claiming the diocese covered up sexual abuse by a priest against their son.
Thomas O’Brien was ordained in 1950 and worked as a priest in Kansas City and Independence until his forced retirement in 1983. In the past 10 years, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against him, claiming he sexually abused many altar boys, including Brian Teeman.
Teeman’s parents filed a lawsuit claiming sexual abuse against their son led to Brian’s suicide in 1983. He was 14 years old.
According the SNAP, the Survivors Network of Abused Priests, the lawsuit alleges that “following the sexual encounters, O’Brien would require them to change into their robes, prepare communion and serve at the mass.”
It also states that “O’Brien forced silence on [boys] by telling them that they would be kicked out of the Catholic Church, they would go directly to hell and their parents would disown them.”
Teeman’s parents didn’t learn about the abuse until a fellow alter boy told them about it in 2011. The Diocese argued the statute of limitations had run out, meaning the lawsuit was not valid. But a Missouri judge ruled there was evidence the Diocese covered up the abuse back in the 80s, and the lawsuit should be allowed to move forward.
Very few lawsuits against the diocese ever go to trial, most are settled out of court, so the civil trial could be embarrassing for the diocese as many details of the alleged sexual abuse will be made public, the the diocese will have every chance to tell its side of this story.