Priest accused of sexual abuse of minor at Aspen church

KMGH - The Denver Channel - ABC 7 [Denver CO]

September 30, 2021

By Blayke Roznowski

A priest is being accused of sexually abusing a minor while he was the pastor at an Aspen church.

Archdiocese of Denver Vicar General Very Rev. R. Michael Dollins said in a letter to parishioners this week that it received an allegation that Fr. Michael O’Brien has been accused of sexually abusing a minor between 2004 and 2008 while he was a pastor at St. Mary’s in Aspen. He was the pastor at the church from 2002 to 2011.

The Aspen Police Department confirmed it’s actively investigating, but did not provide further details on the allegations.

Dollins said in the letter O’Brien “has resolutely denied these allegations.”

O’Brien is currently serving as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Julesburg. He has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

The organization Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests applauded the victim for coming forward. A victim advocate for SNAP said the response from the church is not enough.

“I will never be satisfied with the Catholic Church’s response or anyone else’s response until they open up all the records, which they have yet to do. And I will never be satisfied with the Catholic Church until they begin to reach out to victims instead of waiting for victims to find the personal courage and power to speak up and tell them to accountability,” said Jeb Barret, volunteer director at SNAP.

Fr. Michael J. O'Brien. Screen image from the video version of this report
Fr. Michael J. O’Brien. Screen image from the video version of this report

Anyone with information on the case or other sexual assault incident can contact the Aspen Police Department at (970) 429-1822.

Information about resources available to survivors of sexual assault and their families is available at