Independence, Missouri -- The parents of an Independence boy who committed suicide in 1983 because of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of a retired priest have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Catholic diocese and the priest.
Donald and Rosemary Teeman allege that their son, Brian, took his life in November 1983 because of sexual abuse by Monsignor Thomas J. O’Brien, who was a priest at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence.
The crimes are alleged to have occurred from 1981 to 1983.
Brian was in the eighth grade when the abuse occurred. He was a freshman at Bishop O’Hara High School when he died, according to court documents.
The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court and names the diocese and O’Brien as defendants. They seek unspecified damages.
O’Brien has been named a defendant on several sexual abuse cases since 2004. O’Brien has been retired from parish ministry since 1984 and restricted permanently from representing himself as a member of the clergy, according to the diocese.
In 2008, he was one of 12 priests who were the subjects of a $10 million settlement that the diocese reached with 47 plaintiffs.
O’Brien was also named as a defendant in a lawsuit alleging that a former Kansas City priest, Thomas Reardon, sexually abused a man while he was in middle school in the St. Elizabeth Parish in the late 1960s.
A former classmate and friend, Jon David Couzens Jr., of Kansas City, filed a lawsuit of his own last week against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, O’Brien and Father Isaac True, alleging sexual child abuse while he served as an alter boy at the Nativity of Mary school in Independence.
Couzens was the first to mention Brian Teeman’s death publicly, announcing in both the lawsuit and in public that O’Brien sexually abused him, Brian and another boy at the church.
O’Brien allegedly threatened that the boys would go to hell, their parents would disown them and that they would be kicked out of the church if they told what was happening.
The diocese had no comment Tuesday regarding the lawsuit because officials there had not seen a copy of it.