Rev. John A. O'Brien

Summary of Case: O'Brien was convicted in November 2000 of fourth degree sexual assault of a 17-year-old boy, after pleading no contest. The assault occurred in O'Brien's rectory bedroom the previous May. He was sentenced to 18 months' probation, fined, and sent to inpatient treatment. He was laicized in April 2009. 

: 1964
Laicized: April 3, 2009 


Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Milwaukee archbishop was William Edward Cousins (1958-1977)

1971 Immaculate Conception Milwaukee WI 3/4, 2/3 Parish had a school with 897-525 students.
1971 1971 St. Patrick's Fond du Lac WI   This assignment is per the Milwaukee archdiocese.


Cousins was succeeded by Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B. (1977-2002)

1990 St. Mary's Springs High School Fond du Lac WI   School had 694-451 students.
1990 Oct. 2000 Presentation of the Blessed Virgin

North Fond du Lac

In Nov. 2000 O'Brien pleaded no contest to fourth degree sexual assault of a 17-year-old boy. The assault occurred in O'Brien's rectory bedroom in May of 2000.

WI 1/1

Parish had a school with 151-94 until 1992, when it became part of FACES (Fond Du Lac Area Catholic Education System). Parish also had a religious education program with 303-336 students. Beginning in the 1994 Directory, O'Brien is referred to as Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D.

O'Brien resigned as pastor of this parish in October 2000.

Oct. 2000

Timothy Michael Dolan replaced Weakland (2002-2009)

2003 On Leave      

O'Brien is no longer listed in the Directories after 2003.

O'Brien was given a sentence of 18 months probation after being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, to go to six months of treatment, and to have no unsupervised contact with minors.

A psychiatric team at an in-patient facility said O'Brien could play a limited role in a nursing home setting.

2003  2009         By 2004 O'Brien was fully restricted from ministry. He was laicized April 3, 2009.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1965-2003)

No Jail for Priest in Sex Case, Chicago Tribune, November 9, 2000
Wisconsin Briefing, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 2000
Priests Pose No Danger, By Tom Heinen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 9, 2002
Statement by Milwaukee archdiocese, July 9, 2004,
Restricted Diocesan Priests, Due to Substantiated Reports of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, Updated: November 26, 2007
Laicization Rescript - Unofficial Translation, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, April 3, 2009

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates O'Brien's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on February 18, 2021.