Lawsuit accuses former Phoenix Bishop Thomas O’Brien of abusing boy more than 35 years ago

The Arizona Republic

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy and Michael Kiefer, The Republic |
Aug. 3, 2017

The former bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, who stepped aside in 2003 after acknowledging he had protected suspected pedophile priests, faces personal accusations of child sexual abuse in a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The lawsuit names Bishop Emeritus Thomas O’Brien, the Diocese of Phoenix and three Catholic churches, alleging the plaintiff was the victim of childhood sexual abuse, sexual battery, negligence and fraud.

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

Attempts to reach O’Brien for comment were unsuccessful. No one answered the door at his residence in Phoenix, and phone calls were not returned.

The diocese released a statement from spokesman Robert DeFrancesco.

“Bishop O’Brien was never assigned to any of the parishes or schools identified in the lawsuit,” it said. “Bishop O’Brien categorically denies the allegations.”

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