Lawsuit Accuses Head of Vianney High of Sexual Abuse

By Robert Patrick
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 21, 2006

Father Robert Osborne, president of St. John Vianney High School, was sued Tuesday by the father of a teen who says Osborne "sexually, physically and emotionally abused" the boy.

The suit, which also names Vianney and the Marianists, who run Vianney, says Osborne coerced the student into drinking alcoholic beverages, made sexual comments to him, hugged and kissed him and made "other overt and covert sexual contact with him."

The suit also says Osborne also watched and tried to watch and photograph the boy when he was undressed.

Osborne, informed of the lawsuit Tuesday morning by a Post-Dispatch reporter, said he was "shocked." "I never touched anyone inappropriately," Osborne said.

He also said that while he was aware of the family's complaints to school administrators, he said 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 came in on Saturday and 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. "We don't have any allegations of sexual misconduct in Kirkwood so that's not part of our investigation," Scanga said.

An advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, is holding a news conference in front of Marianists headquarters at 1:30 p.m. to announce the suit.


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