Catholic diocese settles wrongful-death, sexual abuse lawsuit

A Catholic Church in Florissant, Missouri. Bill Greenblatt/UPI
A Catholic Church in Florissant, Missouri. Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

INDEPENDENCE, Mo., July 9 (UPI) -- A Missouri Catholic diocese settled a wrongful-death suit with parents of a suicide victim allegedly sexually molested by a priest, court documents said.

The Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., Diocese settled with the parents, Donald and Rosemary Teeman, for $2.25 million as jury selection in the wrongful-death suit was about to begin in Independence, Mo., Monday afternoon, the Kansas City, Mo., Star reported.


The lawsuit, filed against the diocese and Monsignor Thomas J. O'Brien, alleged that O'Brien forced Brian Teeman, 14, and three other church altar boys to perform sexual acts in the sacristy of Nativity of Mary Church in Independence. It said O'Brien warned the boys they would be disowned by their parents, and go to hell, if they told anyone of the actions.

The suit was filed in 2011, after a man who served as an altar boy told Teeman's parents of the alleged abuse. Brian Teeman died of a gunshot wound in November 1983 at the family's home, the newspaper said.

"This (the settlement) allows everyone to put this behind them," said Rebecca Randles, attorney for the Teemans. "It sends a message that no matter how long ago something like this happens, there will still be liability."


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