O’Brien: Father Anthony O’Brien

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priest Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Ordained 1957.  In mid 70s allegations of sex abuse of 11-year-old boy from Sydney, Nova Scotia dating to 1963 – sent to Southdown, then recycled to and served as a parish priest in the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario.


Bishops of ANTIGONISH  Nova Scotia Diocese from time of Father Anthony O’Brien’s ordination:

John Roderick MacDonald  (13 April 1950  – 18 December 1959 ); William Edward Power  (12 May 1960  – 12 December 1986 ); Colin Campbell  (12 December 1986 – 26 October 2002); Raymond John Lahey (05 April 2003  – 26 September 2009 ); Brian Joseph Dunn (21 November 2009  – )

Bishops of HAMILTON Ontario Diocese from time of Father Anthony O’Brien’s arrival:

Paul Francis Reding  (14 September 1973  – 08 December 1983 ); Anthony Frederick Tonnos (02 May 1984  – 24 September 2010 );  David Douglas Crosby, O.M.I. (24 September 2010 – )

Auxiliary Bishops of HAMILTON Diocese from time of Father Anthony O’Brien’s arrival:

James Hector MacDonald, C.S.C. (Auxiliary Bishop: 09 Feb 1978 to 12 August 1982); Anthony Frederick Tonnos (July 1983  – May 1984 ); Matthew Francis Ustrzycki (10 May 1985 – 01 June 2007)


The following dates and information are drawn from available Canadian Catholic Church Directories (CCCD), 1980 Ontartio Catholic Directory, and media (M)  Additional timelines will be added as information becomes available. 

2002 & 2010: not listed (according Patrick, died somewhere around 2002 or 2003)

2000:  56 Governor’s Rd., Dundas (St Joseph’s Villa retirement home)

1992:  Pastor, St. Ann’s RC Church, Hamilton, 120 Sherman Ave.,   Hamilton, Ontario

1985:   Pastor, St. Ann’s RC Church, Hamilton, Ontario (Anthony Tonnos Bishop of Hamilton)

1980:  at St. Francis Xavier RC Church, Stony Creek, Ontario with Father G.M. Warren (Paul F. Reding Bishop of Hamilton since 1973.  Auxiliary Bishop since 1978 – James M. MacDonald)

1975: allegations of sex abuse of 11-year-old boy from Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1963.

1973-74 & 1971-72: Pastor St. Joseph RC Church, Port Felix with mission in St. Vincent de Paul in Queensport (William Edward Power Bishop of Antigonish)

1969: St. Anne’s RC Church, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia (Pastor Father Alex J MacIassac)  (William Edward Power Bishop of Antigonish)

1967: address Port Hawksbury, Nova Scotia (Father Jewell listed as administrator) (William Edward Power Bishop of Antigonish)

1963:  Sydney , Nova Scotia – according to media reports, allegations of sex abuse stem from this place and time – parish in which he wasew serving is unknown at this time (M)

1959: assiting at Holy Guardian Angels RC Church in L’Ardoise, Nova Scotia  (Pastor Father Placide A. Leblanc) (John Roderick MacDonald Bishop of Antigonish)


Church settles lawsuits over abuse by priests

Canadian Press

February 7, 1996  21.06 EST


The Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish, N.S., has quietly settled lawsuits by eight men who  say they were sexually assaulted by priests decades ago.

The diocese agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in out‑of‑court deals with the men in  December and January.

The settlements, revealed through court documents, bring the church closer to the end of a five‑year scandal involving 43 sex‑related charges and 10 civil suits.

Bishop Colin Campbell did not return phone calls about the settlements, and lawyer John McKiggan, who represented all but one  of the men, would not comment Wednesday, citing client confidentiality.

Last year he indicated that one of the abuse victims was seeking close to $100,000 in damages.

Since 1992, three priests have served jail terms for indecently assaulting young boys in the 1960s and ’70s in northeastern Nova Scotia. A fourth was jailed for sex crimes predating his 1990 ordination.

The diocese has settled all but two victims’ lawsuits, including one against a priest who is no longer with the diocese and has never been charged.

Rev. Anthony O’Brien, 68, was sent to Southdown, an Ontario treatment centre, after a complaint in 1975, and was transferred to the Hamilton diocese upon release.

The chancellor of the Hamilton diocese said this week he thought O’Brien was treated for alcoholism and was unaware of an allegation ivolving an 11‑year‑old boy from Sydney, N.S., in 1963 until the priest was sued last summer.

“I was rather surprised because he’s been doing a very good job,” said Rev. Gerard Bergie. “There’s never been any hint of a problem.”

Last November, in the only civil case to go to court, former altar boy Francis Wayne McDonald was awarded $23,000 by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for pain, suffering and humiliation inflicted by Rev. Jim Mombourquette.

That settlement has been been appealed by the diocese and McDonald filed a cross‑appeal asking for more compensation.

McDonald’s lawyer, Mike LeBlanc, said he thought the outcome in his client’s case, which determined that the church was responsible for the off‑hour activities of its priests, played a role in reaching the out‑of‑court settlements.

The lawsuits, claiming punitive and general damages for “malicious” and “reprehensible” acts, were filed in the past year by individuals, mostly former altar boys, who were sexually abused as children by parish priests.

In 1991, the RCMP laid 42 sex‑related charges against the priests who had been posted to parishes in Cape Breton and northeast Nova Scotia.

Rev. Claude Richard and his twin brother Rev. Clair Richard were convicted of indecent assault and jailed, as was Mombourquette, who pleaded guilty to similar charges. Another priest, Rev. Dan Doucet, was acquitted.


12 Responses to O’Brien: Father Anthony O’Brien

  1. Irene Schofield says:

    I would like to know if there are others out there who have been sexually abused by Father Anthony O’Brien of Nova Scotia; I am searching for a any others for a dear male friend of mine. He was sexually abuse and would like to come forward but is very afraid; Fr. O’Brien was with the Antigonish diocese at the time but served severla Cape Breton and in Eastern NS. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Irene Schofield says:

    I would like to know if there are others out there who have been sexually abused by Father Anthony O’Brien of Nova Scotia; I am searching for a any others for a dear male friend of mine. He was sexually abuse and would like to come forward but is very afraid; Fr. O’Brien was with the Antigonish diocese at the time but served several parishes in Cape Breton and in Eastern NS. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Denise says:

    Father O’Brien also served in Hamilton at St.lawrence church all we knew about him he had a drinking problem. Many Sundays he would be so late for mass, he would rush in no shoes and black sock and a white sock. He was a mess…

  4. Patrick says:

    I was an Altar Boy at St. Lawrence Parish in Hamilton Ontario and I was molested and abused by Father Anthony O’Brien during his time there as the Parish priest.
    I never said a word to anyone about the abuse. I was too scared that I would not be believed and that my family, whose lives were very connected to the church, would be ostracized.

    I buried it away and as a result I have lived with depression and mental illness as a result. I became very good at hiding my pain. I wore a lot of “masks” to hide my sadness. I did not have a girlfriend in high school or university as I didn’t want anyone to get to close. Even when I eventually got married, I did not tell my wife or family.
    In February of 1987, the voices in my head calling me worthless, got to be too much and I tried to take my own life by drowning in Hamilton Bay. God intervened and I only got very wet and cold.

    I became a high school teacher in the Catholic system and found that my calling was helping teens realize that they have worth, that they can survive whatever crosses they have to bear and that they are loved.

    In 2001, I finally let my secret out. Life became a lot more challenging. telling my, wife, my family, my friends and years later my own children what had happened.
    I have been very lucky that they have been so supportive and I began counselling and taking anti-depressants. There have been and always will be episodes when I am sinking in “Quicksand”. I have developed tools to help me quiet the voices and slowly pull myself out of the Quicksand. Depression sucks…but I have and will keep fighting.
    Around 2006 I wrote a letter to An Auxiliary Bishop in Hamilton. In it, I told him my story.
    I was summoned to the Diocese and was assured they never had any complaints about Father O’Brien and that there was no history of it. The priest had passed away in 2002 or 2003 I think, so nothing could be done.

    This week, someone sent me a link to Sylvia’s site. After reading all of this information on Father O’Brien, it is obvious the Diocese knew. They all knew. That means the Auxiliary Bishop knew when I talked to him. He denied the Diocese knew anything. In the article, where he is quoted, they just blame alcohol. What a crock of shit. My eyes have been opened to the lies I was told. Today I am very angry and disappointed with my Church.

    I will always have guilt over not coming forward when I was young because my silence may have resulted in someone else being molested or abused. That will be a cross I carry until I die. However, I now know that if I did come forward when I was young, I would not have been believed. If they can lie to my face as an adult, I can only imagine how cruel they would have been to my teenage face and to my family in 1980.

    Life will continue. I will keep fighting. I will battle my depression. I will win.
    Now, I just have to decide what I should do about the Diocese.

    Thanks for reading. God Bless you all. Patrick

  5. Sylvia says:

    Yes, Patrick, now it’s time to think what you should do about the Hamilton Diocese, and the Antigonish Diocese which shuttled him off to Ontario.

    How terribly sad. Had Bishop done the honourable thing and ‘defrocked’ this priest rather than ‘recycle’ him to Hamilton you would never have had the misfortune of meeting him. Ditto Bishop Reding who gave a known sexual predator safe haven and thereby placed you and every other child in that diocese at risk.

    Think it through carefully Patrick.

    I am thankful that you failed abysmally in your suicide attempt 🙂

    My heart aches for you right now. Stay strong. You will see your way through whatever lies and/or deception have been strewn in your path over the past years. Painful. Like lancing a boil. Dirty business. But in the end, however long it takes, such sweet sweet relief.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  6. Mike Fitzgerald says:

    Patrick – I too am very happy and feel blessed that you are still here! You are obviously “rising above it” and I take my hat off to you!
    I couldn’t help but notice that you said you were “summoned to the diocese” as if you had to answer to this. Also remarkable is the fact that the diocese didn’t get off it’s fat ass and COME TO YOU.
    A lot of us have also travelled this “journey”, and we are all with you. Judging by what (and how) you say, I know you will rise above this filth and be the good and wonderful person you were meant to be. Way to go!!!!! Mike.

  7. V. Amiro says:

    Scum he was bottom of the barrel. Hope he rots in hell

  8. V.Amiro says:

    Scum hope he is rotting in hell

  9. Troy Bridgeman says:

    My name is Troy Bridgeman. I am a freelance journalist investigating clerical sexual abuse against children by Fr Arthur Carragher and Fr Anthony O’Brien during the 1970s and 1980s in Guelph.
    Please contact me at 519 824-5008 or troybridgeman@rogers.com if you have any stories to share

  10. Troy Bridgeman says:

    According to the Catholic Directory for Ontario and the Guelph City Directory, Fr. Anthony O’Brien served in St Joseph’s Parish, Guelph Ontario during 1976, 1977 and 1978. He worked with children during those years at elementary and high schools in the parish.

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