School, Order Deal with Allegations against Priest

By Joseph Kenny
St. Louis Review
February 24, 2006

St. John Vianney High School in Kirkwood and the Marianists are dealing with allegations of sexual abuse filed against the school's president.

Marianist Father Robert Osborne has temporarily left the position following a lawsuit filed Feb. 21 by the father of a student against him, the school and the Marianists.

Father Osborne addressed students at an assembly, telling them that the allegations that he improperly touched a teen while he was a student at the school are "completely unfounded."

Larry Keller, principal of the school, will handle the duties of the president while an investigation is completed by Marianist officials.

Diane Guerra, a Marianist spokeswoman, said the order is following its sexual abuse policy. "We would ask anyone to step down temporarily until an investigation is completed," she said.

The Marianists have ongoing education on sexual abuse and every member is aware of the policies, she said.

The Marianists had received the allegation about two and a half weeks before the lawsuit and had scheduled a meeting with the accuser and his father, Guerra said.

That meeting was cancelled by the father, she said, and efforts had been made by the Marianists to reschedule it.

"We wanted to talk to them first. We weren't just dragging our feet," she said. "It wasn't that we wouldn't remove him. You have to do a little bit of investigating."

Father Osborne had never had a substantiated accusation against him. There was one unsubstantiated claim in the 1980s that he had acted inappropriately with a student, but that claim had not gone forward.


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