Catholic Order Settles Lawsuit
Settlement Is Not an Admission of Guilt in Molestation Charge, Spokeswoman Says

Associated Press, carried in The News-Leader
June 28, 2007

Kirkwood — The Roman Catholic order that operates Vianney High School in suburban St. Louis settled a lawsuit with a teenager who accused the school's former president of molesting him two years ago when he was a student.

The religious order said the settlement was not an admission of guilt on the part of the man accused.

The school's former president, the Rev. Robert Osborne, 74, resigned in August from Vianney High School in Kirkwood. He wrote in the school's September newsletter that he stepped down a year before he planned to retire due to "unresolved legal matters."

In October, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch said there was no evidence of any criminal conduct, and no charges were filed against Osborne.

Osborne did not participate in the civil settlement.

"Father Osborne did not participate in these talks and was not interested in a settlement," the priest's attorney, Robert Haar, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in Wednesday's edition.

Diane Guerra, a spokeswoman for Marianist Province of the United States, said the order's insurance carrier advised the Marianists to settle the case.

"This is not an admission of guilt on Father Osborne's part," she said. "If the insurance company had not forced us to settle, we would have gone to trial."

The financial terms of the settlement are confidential, according to the plaintiff's attorney Ken Chackes, and the order agreed to several non-monetary terms, including posting the Missouri Child Abuse Hotline telephone number in all workplace areas of Vianney and turning over all child abuse reports to police.

As part of the agreement with the Marianists and Vianney, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss his case against Osborne.


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