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Exonerated Aspen priest back in ministry after investigation

By Morgan Whitley,


DENVER ( KDVR ) — An Aspen priest who was accused of sexually assaulting a minor has been exonerated of any wrongdoing and has been placed back into ministry.

The Archdiocese of Denver has completed its internal investigation against Father Michael O’Brien and said it found no evidence behind the accusations.

O’Brien was accused of sexually abusing a minor from 2004 to 2008 while working at St. Mary’s in Aspen. O’Brien was placed on administrative leave while the Aspen Police Department investigated the accusations.

In April, Aspen Police said it would not file criminal charges, and the district attorney has closed the case.

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According to the Archdiocese, the investigation into O’Brien lasted 18 months and included interviews with more than 80 witnesses and 26 law enforcement agencies. APD determined the allegations against O’Brien were baseless.

However, O’Brien is still facing a lawsuit in civil court based on the same allegations, according to the Archdiocese. But the Archdiocese has been advised that the lawsuit is “frivolous, and the claims are spurious.”

The Archdiocese made the final decision to restore O’Brien back into ministry. He will return to St. Anthony of Padua in Julesburg and St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Crook as a pastor on July 1.

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