PHOENIX – A former head of the Catholic church in Phoenix has been accused of molesting a young boy 35 years ago.
Retired Bishop Thomas O’Brien is accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing the boy at parishes in Phoenix and the suburb of Goodyear from 1977 through 1982. The accuser says he reported the abuse to Phoenix police, who refused to comment.
The Diocese of Phoenix says O’Brien denies the allegation.
He led the church in Phoenix as dioceses across the United States, including Boston, were accused of letting priests suspected of sex abuse go unpunished.
The bishop acknowledged in a 2003 immunity deal that he let church employees accused of sex abuse have contact with children.
Weeks after the deal, O’Brien resigned as bishop after he was arrested for hitting and killing a pedestrian with his car.