Msgr. Thomas J. O'Brien
Kansas City bishop was Edwin Vincent O'Hara (1939-1956)
|1954||St. Agnes||Springfield||MO||3/3, 2/3||St. Agnes had a grade school with 340-354 students, and a high school with 150-153 students.|
|1955||1958||Holy Trinity||Kansas City||MO||2/2, 3/3||Holy Trinity had a school with 172-203 students.|
The diocese was redesignated Kansas City-St. Joseph Aug. 29, 1956.
John Patrick Cody replaced O'Hara (1956-1961)
|1957||Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools||Kansas City||MO|
|1957||1959||Diocesan Moderator of High Schools||Kansas City||MO|
Cody was succeeded by Charles Herman Helmsing (1962-1977)
|1966||Legion of Decency Director||Kansas City||MO||O'Brien was elevated to Monsignor status in 1961.|
St. Pius X Home
|Kansas City||MO||Chaplain||This orphanage had 22-13 boys and 20-6 girls.|
|1959||1964||Diocesan School Board Member||Kansas City||MO|
|1959||1969||Assistant Superintendent of Schools||
• There have been reports that O'Brien was molesting children in the early 1960s.
• In a lawsuit that was settled in 2007, O'Brien was accused of having sexually abused a 14 year-old boy in 1967.
|1961||1968||St. Pius X High School||
• In a 2008 lawsuit, a man accused O'Brien of having sexually abused him 1961 at a Catholic High School. The man said O'Brien abused him at least five times, and told him it was a strategy to keep [the boy] from masturbation.
|MO||Principal||St. Pius X had 451-605 students.|
|St. Joseph Orphan Girls' Home|
|1962||1968||Diocesan Office for Ceremonies||Kansas City||MO|
|1964||1971||St. Patrick's||Kansas City||MO||1/3, 1/4||St. Patrick's had a school with 416-355 students.|
|1969||1971||Superintendent of Catholic Schools||Kansas City||MO|
John Joseph Sullivan followed Helmsing as Kansas City-St. Joseph bishop (1977-1993)
• O'Brien was accused in a 2004 lawsuit of having sexually abused five boys during his time at this parish. The abuse is said to have occurred in church rectories and at a house at Lake Viking, which is north of Kansas City. O'Brien bought the house in 1971. The boys are said to have been plied with alcohol and marijuana. The lawsuit also said that O'Brien gave a St. Elizabeth's boy marijuana and pornographic movies. Some of the boys were as young as twelve.
• In another 2004 lawsuit a man claimed that O'Brien and Reardon sexually abused him from 1970-1975, after giving him alcohol and drugs. The man said also that the two priests pressured him for the next 29 years to have sex with them, and to party like "the old days". The accuser said he told his parents during the time of the abuse, but they didn't believe him.
• A 2005 lawsuit was filed by three more men, who said O'Brien sexually abused them in the 1970s, and gave them alcohol and porn. One man said the abuse started when he was 12 years-old and working at the St. Elizabeth rectory.
• The diocese settled in 2008 with a man who said O'Brien and Reardon sexually abused him 1976, when he was 16 years old. A friend had persuaded the boy to attend church at St. Elizabeth's.
• A 2008 lawsuit accused O'Brien and Reardon of sexually abusing a boy beginning in 1979, when the boy was seven years old. The accuser said the abuse started in the St. Elizabeth's rectory while his mother was in another room receiving marriage counseling. The accuser also said that O'Brien gave him and other children alcohol, porn, and money to buy drugs.
• A man in a June 2008 lawsuit accused O'Brien and Reardon of touching his leg suggestively while he was fixing the ceiling fan in the Lake Viking home. The man would have been around 19 years old at the time.
• In Feb. 2011 a man filed suit, accusing O'Brien of sexually abusing him when he was 11 years-old and a student at St. Elizabeth's school.
St. Elizabeth's had a school with 611-545 students.
Also accused in the lawsuit were Revs. Thomas M. Reardon and Joseph Hart. O'Brien and Reardon were said to have "partied" with the boys, and O'Brien is said to have at times gotten so drunk he would have the boys drive the car back to Kansas City. There are also reports that O'Brien and Reardon sexually abused boys together. Hart went on to become bishop of Cheyenne, WY.
The diocese may have heard accusations against O'Brien and Reardon as early as 1972. One former St. Elizabeth's parishioner said his mother made a complaint to auxilliary bishop George Fitzsimons in the 1970s, but Fitzsimons did nothing. Another man said that after O'Brien tried to grope him as a teen, he called and wrote Bishop Charles Helmsing about it, but received no response. The boy then contacted Fitzsimons, who responded in a Nov.1979 letter that he would talk with O'Brien and Reardon, and asked the boy to forgive the two priests.
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
• In Sept. 2011 a man filed suit, accusing O'Brien of sexually abusing him and three of his friends, when he was 10 years-old and the friends were altar boys at Nativity. O'Brien is said to have told the boys that if they told, "number one, you'll get kicked out of the Catholic Church. Number two, you'll go straight to hell and number three, your parents will disown you." One of the boys suicided at age 14, in 1983.
• In a Nov. 2011 lawsuit, a man accused O'Brien, along with Rev. Michael Honhart and Rev. Thomas Reardon, of sexually abusing him from 1980-1984, when the man was between 9 and 12 years old. The abuse is said to have occurred in the Nativity rectory, sacristy, the confessional, O'Brien's car, and at Lake Viking. O'Brien is said to have given the boy alcohol, marijuana and pornography. In addition to forcing the boy to engage in oral and anal sex with him, O'Brien reportedly forced the boy into sexual acts with other boys, while O'Brien watched. O'Brien also is said to have told the boy that if he told he would be "kicked out of the church, abandoned by his family, and would go to hell."
Nativity of the BVM had a school with 280-284 students.
Honhart has been accused of sexually abusing at least three boys.
|Oct. 1983||June 1984||Sabbatical Leave||O'Brien was sent to New Mexico and Washington D.C. for psychiatric evaluation and treatment.|
|1984||2002||St. Joseph Health Center||Kansas City||MO||Chaplain|
Raymond James Boland succeeded Sullivan (1993-2005)
|1994?||St. Thomas More||Kansas City||MO||
3/3, 4/4, 2/2
|St. Thomas More had a school with 444-506 students.|
Address given 1994-2000 is 11281 Oak, Apt. 101, Kansas City, MO. His 2000-2002 address was 615 E. 117th St. Kansas City, MO, which is very near St. Thomas More.
Per news reports, O'Brien retired from his chaplaincy position at St. Joseph's Health Center in 2002, when five people came forward with accusations that he had abused them as minors. They were not same five who accused him in a 2004 lawsuit.
O'Brien is not indexed in the Directories after 2002.
He is believed in Dec. 2011 to still be a priest.
Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1951-2002)
• http://www.kchistory.org, Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections