Judge dismisses several counts in Bishop Thomas O’Brien sexual-abuse case

Arizona Republic

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, The Republic | azcentral.com Aug. 25, 2017

The judge overseeing a lawsuit accusing Bishop Emeritus Thomas O’Brien of sexual abuse has ordered that several counts focusing on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix be dropped.

The counts related to the former bishop’s alleged sexual misconduct still stand.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge David Udall dismissed counts of public nuisance, fraud, fiduciary fraud and negligent infliction of emotional distress, leaving eight of the original 14 counts.

The counts that were dropped alleged the church had financial and oversight responsibilities related to O’Brien’s alleged actions.

In their motions to dismiss multiple allegations in the lawsuit, attorneys for the church contended that some of the accusations were too broad and sweeping. Declaring the Phoenix Diocese a public nuisance would be akin to “creating a new law,” defense attorney John Kelly said in the church’s response.

The lawsuit, filed in September 2016, accuses O’Brien, now 81, of sexually abusing the plaintiff from 1977 through 1982, when the plaintiff was a boy.

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