MO - Parents sue diocese; their abused son committed suicide

  • New clergy sex suit filed by parents
  • Their son, suit says, was driven to suicide
  • Accused priest was police department chaplain
  • New legal action means KC monsignor is Missouri’s “most sued pedophile”
  • He faces 27 lawsuits and was reported to church officials as far back as 1972
  • Yet child molesting cleric remains a priest today; Bishop won’t ask Vatican to defrock him

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, the family of a boy who committed suicide will

--announce their new civil lawsuit accusing Msgr. O'Brien of causing their son's death, and

--release an apology letter sent by the Diocese to a victim of O'Brien years before their son had contact with the cleric.

They will also beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups to come forward & get help.

WHEN:
Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 1:00 PM 

WHERE:
Outside the KC Catholic diocese headquarters (chancery) at 20 West 9th Street, Kansas City, MO

WHO:
The parents of a now-deceased clergy sex abuse victim, who are the plaintiffs in this new case and who are speaking publicly for the first time, along with two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY:
According to the new suit, Brian Teeman committed suicide in 1983 because he was repeatedly sexually assaulted during his childhood (starting at age 11, from 1981-1983) by Msgr. Thomas J. O'Brien. His parents – Donald and Rosemary Teeman - only learned of the abuse in July 2011 when a victim told them he saw O'Brien molest three boys, including their son.

The suit says O’Brien would make boys “perform oral sex and mutual masturbation on each other, then require them to perform those acts on him” and “following the sexual encounters, he would require them to change into their robes, prepare communion, and serve at the mass.” The suit also charges that “O’Brien forced silence on (boys) by telling them that they would be kicked out of the Catholic Church, they would go directly to hell and their parents would disown them.”

According to the suit, KC church officials were told about O‘Brien’s crimes as long ago as 1972. Yet they let O’Brien keep “performing sacraments at the Kansas City Hospice until 2004.”

Most of the crimes against Brian happened at Nativity parish in Independence.

Last week, another man who was sexually violated as a boy by O’Brien, Jon David Couzens filed a similar lawsuit in which he reported witnessing O’Brien sexually abuse three other boys. One of them has since committed suicide, the suit says. (Couzens was also abused by another KC area Catholic priest, Fr. Isaac True.)

O’Brien was ordained in 1950 and is believed to be about 80 years old. He faces allegations that he molested more than two dozen children (sometimes along with Fr. Thomas Reardon) while at a cabin on Lake Viking (northeast of Kansas City) and several parishes (St. Patrick’s in Kansas City North, St. Elizabeth’s, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence). He worked at several Catholic institutions (St. Pius X High school and St. Joseph Health Center). He still lives in the KC area and kept working as a priest until 2002. In 2008, Kansas City church officials refused demands by victims to have O’Brien defrocked. O’Brien was also Chaplain for the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. He remains a priest today.

Both today’s new suit and last week’s suit are filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

CONTACT:
Mike Hunter, SNAP Kansas City Director 913-634-6490, Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

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Our most powerful tool is the light of truth. Through our actions, we bring healing, prevention and justice.



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