Unaware He Hit Pedestrian, Bishop Said

Associated Press, carried in Boston Globe
June 26, 2003

PHOENIX -- The former Catholic bishop of Phoenix told investigators he was worried he was being attacked when something hit his windshield and had no idea he had hit a pedestrian, according to a transcript of a police interview released yesterday. "I'm anxious these days because I thought somebody would kidnap me or something, throwing something at me," Bishop Thomas O'Brien said in the interview, at his home about 36 hours after the accident that killed a jaywalker.

O'Brien said he didn't call authorities because he assumed someone threw a rock at his car or that he had hit a dog. He also said he had been concerned about his safety because he had recently received hate mail.

At the time of the accident, O'Brien was already dealing with the fallout of an immunity deal he struck with the county attorney. The deal spared him indictment on obstruction charges and required his admission that he sheltered accused sexual molesters in the clergy.

O'Brien stepped down last week after being charged with leaving the scene of the June 14 accident that killed Jim Reed, 43.

Despite being notified the next day by Vicar General Dale Fushek that police were looking for him in the investigation of the fatal accident, O'Brien never contacted authorities.

"I said, well, if it's serious, they'll contact me. But I . . . didn't know," O'Brien said in the police interview, which ended when a lawyer for the bishop arrived.

This story ran on page A6 of the Boston Globe on 6/26/2003


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