|“Whistleblower” & Victims’ Group Challenge School & Church Officials
November 11, 2008
"Whistleblower" & Victims' Group Challenge School & Church Officials
Former School Staff Member, Life-long Catholic, Speaks Out For First Time
Ex-Vianney PR Head Launches Ad Campaign To Show "Policy & Practice" Gap
Third Young Man Has Come Forward to SNAP Reporting Abuse by Same Cleric
Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Want Priest Taken Out of Parish & Kept Out of Schools
"Put Cleric in Treatment Center or Disclose Where He's Living," All of Them Urge
Civil Lawsuit Against Former-School President For Recent Abuse Was Settled in 2007
Yet He Often Showed Up Unsupervised on Campus & May Still, Kirkwood Woman Says
Alleged Predator Priest Now Works At Church A Mile From School Where He Resigned
At a sidewalk news conference, an ex-Vianney school official will
- announce that she's starting an advertising effort to alert people about an accused predator priest, and
- disclose that even after he resigned facing abuse allegations, the priest still roamed a Catholic high school unsupervised.
Clergy sex abuse victims read a letter from a third victim of the priest who's come forward recently.
They will also prod current archdiocesan, church and school officials to
- prevent the priest from working in parishes or schools,
- put him in a treatment center with other pedophile priests, or, at the very least
- disclose where the priest is living now and warn his neighbors about him.
TODAY, Tuesday, Nov. 11
At noon - outside St. Peter's Parish, 243 West Argonne Drive, in Kirkwood (966-8600)
At 1:15 p.m. – outside the Marianist national headquarters, 4425 W. Pine, in the CWE
A life-long Catholic and ex-Vianney employee along with several clergy abuse survivors who are members of a support group called SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the organization's long time national director
Until 2006, a Marianist priest, Father Robert Osborne, was the president of Vianney (Kirkwood Road at I-44). That month he was sued and stepped down.
Now, for the first time, a former Vianney staffer is publicly discussing her experiences at the school in the aftermath of the scandal. A devout, life-long Catholic, she's upset about disparities between how church officials talk about and handle abuse cases. She's launching a print ad campaign to prod Catholics to be more open-minded about such allegations, particularly those involving Osborne.
And a third Osborne victim has come forward to SNAP, though he hasn't yet taken legal action.
According to the 2006 lawsuit, Osborne used "his position to gain the trust" of a teenaged student, "coercing him to drink alcoholic beverages, making sexual comments to him, (trying) to observe and photograph him when he was undressed, hugging and kissing him, and making other overt and covert sexual contact with him." At least one other accuser came forward to police.. Osborne was suspended and months later, school officials announce that he would not be returning to Vianney.
In June 2007, that civil lawsuit was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
Five years ago, America's bishops adopted a nationwide 'charter' that prohibits 'credibly accused' abusive priests from working in parishes. SNAP believes Osborne's presence at St. Peter's parish in Kirkwood (where he has said Mass repeatedly and appears on their website) violates that policy. SNAP is especially troubled because the parish also has a parochial school and a youth group that meets on Sunday nights.
Two adults – the boy's relative and his therapist – repeatedly reported Osborne's abuse (in person and in phone calls) to the church and Vianney officials. They asked that Osborne be kept away from kids. But neither the Marianists nor the school took any action. Concerned for others, the boy and his family filed a civil lawsuit. They were represented by the attorney that has handled almost all clergy sex abuse cases in St. Louis: Ken Chackes of University City (872 8420, 369 3902 cell).
For a photo of Osborne: http://www.stpeterkirkwood.org/saintpeter_staff_pictures.htm
This is at least the sixth time in the last few years that a local Marianist has been named as an accused pedophile. The others include Fr. William Christiansen, Brother John Woulfe, Brother William Mueller, Fr. Daniel A. Triulzi, and Brother Tony Pistone. Each faces one or more civil lawsuits. Litigation against Triulzi and Mueller has been settled.
Contact: Linda Briggs-Harty cell (314) 610-2362, David Clohessy of SNAP (314) 566 9790 cell, 645 5915
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