Lawsuit Accuses Head of St. Louis School of Sexual Abuse

Associated Press, carried in The Kansas City Star
February 21, 2006

ST. LOUIS - A Roman Catholic priest and high school president was sued Tuesday by the father of a former student who said the priest abused the boy "sexually, physically and emotionally."

The suit names the Rev. Robert Osborne, president of St. John Vianney High School; the private school in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood; and the Marianist religious order that runs the school.

The lawsuit said Osborne made "overt and covert sexual contact with" the boy, and tried to watch and photograph him when he was undressed.

Osborne told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was "shocked" to hear the allegation.

"I never touched anyone inappropriately," Osborne said.

He knew the family had complained to school administrators, he said, but he was not aware of any allegations of inappropriate behavior.

"That is the first I've ever heard of that, and I categorically deny it," he said.

Osborne said he broke off contact after the family complained that he was "hovering" around the boy.

Capt. Diane Scanga of the Kirkwood Police Department said that a family last Saturday reported that a priest at Vianney gave wine to a minor. Scanga said she would not release the name of the priest until formal charges, if any, were filed.

An advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, held a news conference in St. Louis to announce the suit.


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