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Archive for Thursday, June 3, 2004

Retired priest, ex-priest accused of sexual abuse

June 3, 2004

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— A retired Roman Catholic priest and a former priest have been sued by a man who says they sexually abused him when he was a boy.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Monsignor Thomas J. O'Brien, now 77 and retired, and Thomas M. Reardon, 62, who left the priesthood in 1989. Several other men filed sexual-abuse lawsuits against them in January.

In the new lawsuit, a plaintiff identified as John L. P. Doe said the priests also gave him marijuana when he was a boy and that they harassed him in later years.

The man said they demanded sexual acts from him between 1970, when he was 13, and 1975, in return for a loan he got from them. The lawsuit also says they tried to blackmail him with the information about the marijuana use.

Reardon has denied previous allegations through his attorney, Matthew O'Connor, who did not return a call Wednesday. O'Brien has also denied the prior allegations and his lawyer, Gerald F. McGonagle, declined comment Tuesday.

The plaintiff alleges that after he grew up, Reardon and O'Brien came to his place of employment, requested sexual favors and asked personal questions in front of customers.

The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Bishop Raymond J. Boland and Vicar General Patrick Rush are also named in the lawsuit. In a statement Tuesday, Rush did not respond directly to the new sex abuse allegations but repeated earlier statements on the histories of the two priests.

In January the diocese said there were two complaints in the 1980s accusing Reardon of sexual abuse, with the victim given counseling and Reardon treated for addictions.

The diocese also said that in 1983 it got a complaint accusing O'Brien of sexual misconduct with a minor. He denied the abuse but underwent treatment. Two years ago, five people accused O'Brien of sexual abuse, which he also denied. He retired at that time as a hospital chaplain.

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