The Divine Sociopath

Why isn't Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien in jail? There are far too many who have left the church because of his bad behavior.

In the county attorney's eyes, he agreed not to file on Bishop O'Brien, but when the cleric was convicted of felony hit-and-run, he was dirty again, which should have put his role in the obstruction of justice back on the record.

Furthermore, any reasonable examination of O'Brien's sordid record in the child-abuse tragedy shows that he did much more than persuade devout Catholics not to report abuse, much more than transfer molesters into unsuspecting parishes.

Bishop O'Brien also actively deceived the courts in 1985 regarding the sexual predation of one of the bishop's most notorious priests, Father John Giandelone. The bishop hid from a judge about to sentence this pedophile the fact that the priest had already molested another child in an earlier case O'Brien personally investigated.

Supporters wore "I Love My Bishop" buttons to court. 
But nobody loved O'Brien more than Judge Stephen A. 
Gerst (above).
Mark Henle
Supporters wore "I Love My Bishop" buttons to court. But nobody loved O'Brien more than Judge Stephen A. Gerst (above).
Defense attorney Tom Henze was naturally pleased by 
Judge Gerst's light sentence.
Mark Henle
Defense attorney Tom Henze was naturally pleased by Judge Gerst's light sentence.

While insisting to the court that he, the bishop, saw reason to believe Giandelone would never offend again, O'Brien knew full well that this priest was already a repeat offender.

So O'Brien persuaded the court to give the molester a very light sentence: working in the church library.

Bishop O'Brien, unlike Lila Swanson, had extensive contact with the criminal justice system. He was the target of a grand jury investigation, he signed a shocking consent decree, admitted guilt and relinquished authority. He was also an active participant in a fraud committed upon the judiciary in the sentencing of one of his predators.


By the time Judge Gerst bungled the sentencing, fate had already conspired to keep a critical witness out of the courtroom. Prosecutors were prepared to bring the smoking gun in the child-abuse agreement into the hit-and-run pre-sentencing hearing.

Once convicted of felony hit-and-run, Bishop O'Brien faced a pre-sentencing hearing where prosecutors and defense attorneys presented factors that aggravate or mitigate the charge. This is where the county attorney intended to present Father Joe Ladensack.

County Attorney Rick Romley was able to get the signed confession from the bishop because the prosecutor had a stunning witness to the pedophilia scandal. A former priest claimed O'Brien ordered him to break the law to protect Father Giandelone, a deviant, molesting cleric. It was this evidence that Romley threatened to take to the grand jury unless the bishop admitted his guilt and relinquished control.

Father Joe Ladensack, once part of the bishop's inner circle, was driven out of the church by O'Brien, given 24 hours to clear out of the rectory. His interview with authorities marked the beginning of the end for the bishop.

Now happily married, Ladensack was scheduled to testify in the sentencing phase of O'Brien's hit-and-run case, but a death in his family prevented his appearance.

His transcribed interview with authorities, however, presents a chilling view of the child-molestation conspiracy that Bishop O'Brien presided over.

The oldest of nine children, Ladensack was a graduate of Brophy Prep and Arizona State University. He distinguished himself in Vietnam as a war hero earning two Silver Stars, six Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.

The war changed Joe Ladensack, and after leaving the Army, he dedicated his life to God, entered the seminary and earned a pair of master's degrees in religious studies. Within two years, he was asked by then-bishop James Rausch to become the Director of Religious Education in Phoenix.

Bishop Rausch was not merely the leader of the diocese. He was recognized as an intellectual caught up in worldly affairs. The State Department had once given the bishop and his mentor, Cardinal Joseph Bernadine, vestments in which an enormous stash of money had been sewn into the lining. Rausch then smuggled the money into communist Poland, where the church used the funds to finance the Solidarity Movement. Father Ladensack, still a young man, found it a heady experience to be on Rausch's staff, and within two years, was promoted again to Vicar for Christian Formation.

Father Ladensack presided over all of the educational arms of the church as well as the development of vocations.

Almost from the beginning -- in the early '80s -- he attempted to set reforms in place. He felt that too often men were being admitted into the priesthood with questionable judgment, habits and morals.

Then, as now, the Catholic clergy in Phoenix was markedly gay.

Kim Sue Lia Perkes, an avowed lesbian, was Bishop O'Brien's last press liaison. She joked in a recent interview that, "If it weren't for the gay clergy in Phoenix, there wouldn't be any clergy in Phoenix."

Ladensack took steps to try to impose controls in 1980 that would help ensure that seminarians -- whatever their sexual orientation -- were mature candidates for the priesthood.

"Instead of just accepting someone as a seminarian, sending him to the seminary and then ordaining him," Ladensack told investigators, "I began to set up a system where we had to look at records, we had screening lay boards, interview them at various steps and then we had a final board before they were ordained."

He immediately met resistance from another priest, Father Jack Cunningham, according to the prosecutor's transcript.

Cunningham, who worked under Ladensack, oversaw seminary admissions and drew attention to himself almost immediately. He was called on the carpet for taking a group of seminarians out to dinner and leaving a $500 tip.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
1 comments
Pauline144
Pauline144

Pervert David Ostler of Prince of Peace in Sun City West - just google Fr. David Ostler Cornwall,Ont. and read about the back door boys David and Gary Ostler

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...