MO - Two predator priest cases end
Each settled for six figure amounts
One man was assaulted by two clerics
A Catholic religious order resolved his suit
But Bishop Finn’s diocese refuses to do so
In the other case, predator admitted wrongdoing
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, victims of clergy sex abuse and their supporters will disclose two recent settlements in local clergy sex abuse cases against two priests.
In one of them, a boy was assaulted by two priests. In the other one, a boy was assaulted by a priest who later admitted wrongdoing.
They will also
--prod Bishop Robert Finn to disclose the identities of predator priests (as a Minnesota judge just ordered a bishop there to do) and post their names on his KC diocesan website, and
--prod anyone who many have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups to come forward, get help, expose predators, protect kids, deter wrongdoing and start healing.
TODAY, Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
Outside the KC Catholic diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 20 W. 9th Street in downtown KC.
Three members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s long time executive director
Two local pedophile priest lawsuits have settled.
1. - A high profile Kansas City clergy sex abuse victim has settled, for $125,000, with one of two Catholic defendants in a lawsuit that he filed two years ago.
In September 2011, Jon David Couzens Jr. filed a civil suit charging that two priests - Fr. Isaac True and Msgr. Thomas J. O’Brien – sexually assaulted him in the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was a nine and ten year old altar boy at Nativity parish in Independence.
Another defendant, Bishop Robert Finn’s KC diocese, has NOT settled with Couzens.
2. - John Doe M R has settled his case against Fr. James Urbanic, the KC diocese and Society of Precious Blood for $130,000. The case was filed in Feb. 2012 in Buchanan County, where the alleged crimes took place, at St. Francis Xavier’s Catholic church. The two met at Bishop LaBlond High School in St. Joseph.
In this case, all three defendants settled.
SNAP is praising both victims and says that the Couzens case is particularly significant.
“This is basically the second time Couzens has basically been deemed credible by church officials,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “He was to be a key witness in another case against Msgr. O’Brien that resulted in a $2.25 million dollar settlement just a few months ago. Obviously, Catholic officials feared that a jury would find Couzens very credible.”
That’s significant because, as the KC Star editorial board noted, “a few of the church’s more radical defenders are trying to impeach Couzens’ character.” (The editorial board also noted, however, that “Couzens has shined a light into dark recesses, the existence of which church leaders have long denied. But, after struggling for decades with guilt and shame, Couzens showed great courage in telling his story. Because of him and others who are speaking out, people in positions of authority will find it harder to harm children.”)
SNAP is urging Bishop Robert Finn to reach out to anyone who was hurt by Fr. Urbanic, Fr. True or Msgr. O’Brien. They also want Finn to disclose the identities of all predator priests and permanently post them on his diocesan website. SNAP is also prodding Fr. True’s direct supervisors and Fr. Urbanic’s direct supervisors to do likewise.
SNAP is urging anyone who was hurt by any of the three clerics to “come forward, get help, and start healing.” And the group hopes anyone who may have knowledge about or suspicions about crimes by either cleric should call law enforcement officials, not Catholic church officials.
Here are details about the priests and the attorneys involved:
FR. TRUE - From 1973-1988, Fr. True was president of Conception Seminary. He also spent two years in Guatemala in the 1980s. Fr. True’s last known contact information was: OSBcathlc@grm.net, 660 425 8160, 660 425 8160. Fr. True was ordained in 1966. Fr. True represented by John E. Franke of Franke Schulz & Mullin, PC.
Fr. True belongs to a Catholic religious order called the Benedictines, which run Conception Abbey in northwest Missouri. His most recent assignment from 2008 to 2011 was as the pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in Bethany, Missouri.Fr. True’s photo and work history are here:
MSGR. O’BRIEN - He is Missouri’s most prolific predator priest. O’Brien was represented by Gerald F. McGonagle of McGonagle Spencer, PC. O’Brien passed away in October. His photo and work history are here: http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/OBrien_Thomas_J.htm
FR. URBANIC – He belongs to the Society of the Precious Blood, a Liberty-based Catholic religious order. He now lives in a Precious Blood facility in the San Francisco area.
The victims are represented by Rebecca Randles and Sarah Brown of Randles, Mata and Brown.