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.

Cunningham's explanation for the generosity did not sit well with Ladensack.

"He said, 'Yeah, [the waiter] gave us excellent service and he was real cute, too.' And he gave me sort of a mischievous wink."

According to Ladensack, Father Cunningham recruited seminarians who had been rejected elsewhere, or who had attended more than one seminary.

Jim Reed's mother, Lillie, couldn't believe O'Brien didn't 
go to jail.
Jack Kurtz
Jim Reed's mother, Lillie, couldn't believe O'Brien didn't go to jail.
Flora Mendoza, Reed's girlfriend, comforts their sons, 
Doran (left) and Austin, as she listens to how O'Brien hit 
and ran.
Jack Kurtz
Flora Mendoza, Reed's girlfriend, comforts their sons, Doran (left) and Austin, as she listens to how O'Brien hit and ran.

When Cunningham continued to ignore the reforms, Ladensack relieved him of his responsibilities and assigned him to a parish.

In addition to the young seminarians, Ladensack was also concerned with the spiritual maturity of the priests already in the diocese. He brought to Phoenix a Trappist monk, Reverend Vince Dwyer, who'd created the Ministry to Priests program.

Reverend Dwyer, who'd put counseling packages together for other dioceses across America, conducted psychological profiles through extensive questionnaires local priests filled out during an annual retreat.

Ladensack was not prepared for the results.

"Vince Dwyer met with us and said, 'This is the worst presbyterate I've ever seen,'" remembered Ladensack. "'You have got some major, major problems. Major problems.' He says, 'When I give this report to the priests, I'm not going to stress that because, you know, you can't just go out and tell these guys who have given 30, 40, 50 years of their life, you know, you are all a bunch of degenerates.'"

Unbeknown to Ladensack, Dwyer had his own problems. In 1969, he began an affair with a troubled 15-year-old girl during a retreat he was coordinating. The relationship continued for years, culminating physically in 1981. Father Dwyer would pay the woman $75,000 in 1995 as part of a settlement.

In 1980, the degeneracy in Phoenix would personally touch Father Ladensack. That year, a youth minister came to Ladensack with an urgent request for a meeting with Bishop Rausch.

The youth minister said the Kulina family wanted a meeting because their young son, Ben, had been molested by Father John Giandelone. Then-monsignor Thomas O'Brien, the number-two man in the diocese, personally investigated and substantiated the allegations.

Monsignor O'Brien instructed the parents not to report the incident, promising that the church would remove Father Giandelone.

When he discovered that Bishop Rausch had transferred the predator priest to Father Ladensack's former parish in Chandler, Ladensack challenged his bishop's decision. He was rebuffed.

In short order, Bishop Rausch passed away, Monsignor O'Brien became Bishop O'Brien, and Father Ladensack discovered that the pedophile priest had been reassigned, again, this time to a high school.

Father Ladensack confronted Bishop O'Brien.

"I went down to O'Brien and said I'm really upset about this," Ladensack told investigators. "I have really tried to clean up these high schools, and I know Giandelone's past, I know what Giandelone has done, and the fact that he's now in one of my high schools really upset me."

Bishop O'Brien was not sympathetic.

"He said, 'That's my decision,'" recalled Ladensack. "'It's not for you to suggest. As a matter of fact, Joe, I think you're a little bit too obsessed with this gay pedophile issue. I think, Joe, you have some kind of problem. Maybe you need to go get counseling to deal with that problem.'"

O'Brien, newly installed, dismissed Reverend Dwyer's Ministry to Priests program and continued to clash with Father Ladensack. The new bishop ignored the screening protocols Father Ladensack had initiated for seminarians.

In 1984, Father Ladensack resigned as Vicar of Christian Formation and was reassigned by Bishop O'Brien to a gang-infested parish.

The day after he took his new assignment, Father Ladensack received an urgent phone call from a former parishioner in Chandler.

It would take nearly 20 years, but this conversation set events in play that convinced County Attorney Romley that Bishop O'Brien was guilty of obstruction of justice. The bishop would become the target of a grand jury investigation.

The phone call had followed Harry Takata's opening the door of his 15-year-old son's bedroom on May 26, 1984, and discovering Father John Giandelone performing oral sex on the youngster.

After throwing the priest out, the distraught parents phoned Father Ladensack.

"They said, 'Father Joe, you're the only one we thought we could call [who] might believe us," recalled Ladensack.

Harry Takata had a gun and wanted to kill Father Giandelone.

Instead, Father Ladensack helped the Takatas decide to call the police.

The pedophile would later tell authorities, "I was lonely, and all I wanted to do is love on him and lay my head on his stomach."

Using a secret line identified as "the bat phone," Ladensack called O'Brien who -- put out over the interruption -- told the priest, "This had better be good."

According to Ladensack's account, the bishop blew his stack.

"He said, 'Why did you go out there, why did you call the police? You have to come to me with [something like] this immediately, and to me first and only to me,'" related Ladensack.

"I thought O'Brien got livid before, but he was absolutely beyond himself."

Ladensack did not yield.

O'Brien said, "You owe me obedience, you took a vow of obedience, and must I remind you, young man, that you need to keep your vow of obedience."

By that time, Ladensack remembered, the bishop was "totally out of control."

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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

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