The St. Louis County prosecutor’s office has decided not to pursue a case against the former president of Vianney High School because no criminal conduct was found after he was accused by a student of sexual abuse.
"They told me they weren’t going to file any charges because after a thorough review of the matter they found no criminal conduct," J. Martin Hadican, attorney for Marianist Father Robert Osborne, told the Review.
Father Osborne left his position at the boys’ school in Kirkwood in February after a lawsuit was filed against him, the school and the Marianists by the father of a student. The priest addressed students that day at an assembly, telling them that the allegations that he improperly touched a teen were "completely unfounded."
Father Osborne still faces the civil suit. Hadican said he looks forward to putting that matter behind him as well.
Unfortunately, he said, even after accusations are deemed unfounded, "this thing hangs over your head."
Marianist Brother Stephen Glodek, provincial of the Marianist Province of the United States, said the community is "very, very happy" that the investigation resulted in no criminal charges.
He cited the civil case and said, "We’re waiting for that to be resolved."
Father Osborne’s status remains the same for now, and he is not expected to return to his position at the school, where his term would have been completed. Larry Keller, Vianney principal, has been handling duties of the president. A search committee is seeking to fill the vacant position.
Brother Stephen said the Marianists had cooperated fully with the Kirkwood Police Department on their investigation of the accusation.
The St. Louis County prosector’s office did not return calls seeking comment.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said "we’re surprised and disappointed" by the prosecutor’s decision. He added, "It’s naive and reckless to assume this exonerates (Father) Osborne."
Clohessy’s organization often calls press conferences and takes other steps to publicize accusations of abuse against clergy. He said that in these cases his organization first talks to the victims, their families, therapists and attorneys.
When asked whether the organization ever encounters people making false accusations, he said yes, but "generally they call or come once and don’t come back. That’s been our experience."