The Rev. Robert Osborne, former president of the all-boys St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood, has died. The school removed him from office in 2006, after he was accused of sexually abusing students.
He was 81 and died Sunday (April 27, 2014) in Cupertino, Calif., at a health care facility for senior members of the Society of Mary (Marianists). The cause of death was not immediately released. His death was confirmed by the Marianist Province of the United States.
In February 2006, Father Osborne temporarily stepped down as president of Vianney after a lawsuit accused him of having “sexually, physically and emotionally abused” a student. When another accusation followed, the school removed Father Osborne permanently.
Father Osborne consistently denied the accusations. A criminal investigation by the St. Louis County prosecutor’s office ended with no criminal charges.
Vianney settled the civil suit for an undisclosed sum.
In 2008, an internal investigation by the Marianist order indicated “no credible or substantiated allegation of abuse against Father Osborne,” the Archdiocese of St. Louis said.
However, in 2009, the archdiocese took away Father Osborne’s priestly faculties. That meant he could not live in residence within any archdiocesan parish rectory or celebrate Mass publicly, the archdiocese said.
Father Osborne was a Marianist for 58 years. He took his first vows in 1955 and was ordained in 1966. He taught and served in religious or administrative roles at Vianney and Chaminade Preparatory School in Creve Coeur.
He first served as acting president at Vianney in 2002. He was pastor of Our Lady of the Pillar from 1981 to 1986 and served in the Marianist administration from 1986 to 1995.
Mike Loyet, Vianney’s current president, said on the school’s website that Father Osborne helped Vianney make significant improvements during his time as school president: “Fr. Robert was a friend and the driving force for the building of the fieldhouse, commons and educational wing. This forward thinking has led Vianney into a strong position in the St. Louis area.”
Visitation will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of the Pillar Church, 401 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Creve Coeur. The funeral Mass will be recited at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the church.
Survivors include a sister, Mary Osborne, and a brother, Peter Osborne, both of California.