Lawsuit Accuses 2 Priests of Pressuring Sex Abuse Victim [Kansas City MO]
June 1, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A lawsuit was filed Tuesday afternoon against two former Kansas City priests, accusing them of trying to blackmail a sexual abuse victim.

According to the lawsuit, the two former priests -- Thomas O'Brien and Thomas Reardon -- pressured a former sex abuse victim for 29 years to have sex with them.

The lawsuit also claims that almost three decades ago, Reardon and O'Brien plied a 13-year-old boy with liquor and drugs in exchange for sex at a lake house the church owned near Gallatin, Mo., and at church rectories. The abuse allegedly took place from 1970 to 1975.

The alleged victim is a Kansas City businessman who is now in his 40s.

"What they did was come to his store and make very public sexual advances in front of his customers and employees, saying, 'Let's party like we did in the old days,'" said Rebecca Randles, an attorney for the plaintiff.

In a written statement, Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese said it has no record of any person bringing these allegations to church officials in the past.

The diocese has spent more than $800,000 in insurance money on sexual abuse cases against priests, KMBC's Bev Chapman reported.

Through his attorney, the victim said he told his parents about the abuse at the time, and they didn't believe him. Randles said her client didn't go to police with the allegations because he wanted to protect his wife and family.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages against the priests and other church officials. Both O'Brien and Reardon have left the priesthood.


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