Father Michael O’Brien
Archdiocese of Denver
- 2002-2011: St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Aspen, CO)
Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Michael O’Brien
In September 2021, the Archdiocese of Denver announced that it placed Fr. Michael O’Brien on administrative leave after he was accused of sexually abusing a male minor between 2004 and 2008.
According to a lawsuit filed in December 2021, over the span of four years, Fr. O’Brien abused the minor approximately 300 times. And when the minor did not comply with Fr. O’Brien’s sexual demands, the suit alleges that the priest beat him, “hitting [the minor] in the torso, chest, and/or back.”
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that the abuse began when the minor and his family joined St. Mary’s and that much of the abuse occurred at the church. “O’Brien continued to groom the [minor] by normalizing sexual abuse” and telling the minor “these sexual acts were a way of showing God’s love.”
In April 2023, Aspen law enforcement officials closed their 19 month long investigation into the allegations, calling them “unfounded.” The Archdiocese of Denver released a statement excoriating the alleged victim, calling the allegations “baseless,” “fraudulent,” and “false,” while calling O’Brien “a good man” who was “wrongly accused.” The statement also indicates that O’Brien will soon be returned to ministry by Archbishop Samuel Aquila.
What’s Known About Fr. Michael O’Brien’s Career
According to sources, Fr. Michael O’Brien was pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen for eight years. In 2011, Fr. O’Brien left St. Mary’s and took a six-month sabbatical in Lakewood to “address some health issues,” an announcement in the Aspen Times reads.
Sources also say that shortly after O’Brien’s sabbatical, he was appointed pastor of a church in Julesburg––where he remained pastor until his removal in September. Ordained in 2000, Fr. O’Brien served roughly 20 years in ministry.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Alexandria may now have legal options but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help.
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