Lawsuit Accuses Vianney President of Sexual Abuse

KSDK [St. Louis MO]
February 22, 2006

He has been a fixture in the St. Louis Catholic community for decades. Now Father Robert Osborne, President of St. John Vianney High School, faces allegations of sexual misconduct with a student.

The civil lawsuit has been filed by the alleged victim's father. He says Osborne had an inappropriate relationship with his teenage son during the last three years.

The McMahons have a child at Vianney. They say they don't believe the allegations. Their son Patrick heard the news at a school assembly this afternoon. Patrick McMahon says, "The last person I would have ever expected something like this to happen to. He's the nicest guy. Not capable of it at all."

Patrick's mother Tara McMahon says, "Innocent until proven guilty. I mean, that's what I think. And I think we just need to support him, stand behind him, pray for him. And those of us who know him just have to pray that the truth will come out."

At a news conference on Tuesday, a lawyer outlined the allegations against Father Osborne. According to the civil lawsuit, he made sexual comments to an unidentified teenage victim, tried to photograph him undressed, hugged and kissed him, and coerced him to drink alcohol. The family's lawyer, Ken Chackes says, "The young man who is bringing this lawsuit wants to protect other children."

The Marianists, the religious order which runs Vianney, defended Father Osborne today. Spokesperson Diane Guerra says, "There has never been a written allegation, or a confirmed allegation of any abuse against him whatsoever in 50 years."

Father Osborne has temporarily stepped down from his post as President.

Student Jeff Cammarata says, "I was just shocked because Father Osborne is a great guy and I don't see him doing that."

His mother, Heather Cammarata, adds, "It makes me really sad that the accusation has been made. I think the best approach is a thorough investigation and the truth will out."

The attorney who filed the lawsuit says the family has also filed a report with police. Father Osborne has categorically denied the allegations.


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