Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Friday, February 18, 2011

Ex-Springfield priest is accused of child sex crimes

Statement by David Clohessy, executive director 314 566 9790 [email protected]

Ex-Springfield priest is accused of child sex crimes

A priest who worked in Springfield for four years was accused in a civil lawsuit yesterday of molesting a Kansas City boy. The alleged child molesting cleric has been
---suspended and deemed “credibly accused” of molesting kids by his Catholic supervisors, and
---has been sued two dozen times before for child sex crimes.

O’Brien was at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Springfield from 1951-1954).

For the sake of public safety, we hope that Fr. O’Brien goes to jail (though he faces no criminal charges right now). And we hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes will step forward, call police, protect others, and get help from independent sources.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])


Posted on Thu, Feb. 17, 2011 10:56 PM

Sexual abuse lawsuit filed against retired Catholic priest

By TONY RIZZO - The Kansas City Star

An unnamed Missouri man has filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against a retired Catholic priest and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The suit, filed in Jackson County District Court, alleges that Thomas J. O’Brien sexually abused the man when he was an 11-year-old student in St. Elizabeth Parish in Kansas City in the 1970s.

The suit contends that two other priests, who are not named as defendants, “parroted” some of O’Brien’s actions and made “lewd and inappropriate” comments in front of the boy.

It accuses the diocese of covering up and concealing O’Brien’s activities. According to the suit, the man making the allegations “has only recently recovered memories of the sexual assaults.”

O’Brien has been named in numerous sex-abuse lawsuits.

In a written response, the diocese noted that O’Brien has been retired from parish ministry since 1984 and has been restricted permanently from representing himself as a member of the clergy since 2002.

“As the diocese does not know the identity of the person filing the suit or have any further information, it cannot comment on the substance of the complaint,” according to its response.

One of the priests accused in the suit of making inappropriate comments, Michael Tierney, was the subject of a sex-abuse suit filed last October.

But an independent review board determined that there was no credible claim against Tierney and recommended that he remain as pastor of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City, according to the diocese.

Attorneys for Tierney have filed a motion seeking to dismiss that suit.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send e-mail to [email protected].

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests