According to the Denver Channel, Michael O'Brien has been accused of sexually abusing a minor while a pastor at St Mary's Catholic Church located at 533 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611.
Michael O'Brien served as the church's pastor from 2002 until 2011. The victim alleges that O'Brien abused them from 2004 to 2008. A letter was sent to the Archdiocese of Denver with the allegations. Aspen Police Department is currently investigating the allegations.
O'Brien is employed as a pastor of St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church located at 606 W 3rd St, Julesburg, CO 80737. They have confirmed he is on administrative leave.
Attorney contributor Dan Lipman is an experienced sexual abuse lawyer in Colorado. Dan represents victims of sexual abuse along with their families in civil lawsuits. During a recent interview, he highlighted the legal rights of victims sexually abused by their pastor.
"Churches have a legal duty to provide a level of protection for their congregation members. The position of a pastor is trusted and respected by the members of the congregation. Unfortunately, we have seen pastors, and other clergy members, take advantage of their position and sexually abuse members. Church officials should do their best to prevent abuse from occurring. This could include installing security cameras on the property in addition to implementing background checks on all clergy members."
"Victims along with their families are advised to employ an experienced sexual abuse lawyer to explore all their legal options fully. In some cases, abuse occurs due to negligence on behalf of the church and its administration. If officials were aware of misconduct reports but ignored them, this could be considered neglect. In these cases, the victim's families may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against the church."