Aspen police find sexual abuse accusations against St. Mary’s priest unfounded |

Aspen police find sexual abuse accusations against St. Mary’s priest unfounded

Staff report

The Aspen Police Department concluded a 19-month exhaustive investigation into a sexual assault allegation made against Michael O’Brien and closed the case as unfounded, according to a press release from the Aspen Police Department.

O’Brien, a priest formerly serving at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, will have no charges filed against him.

The investigation, conducted with the assistance of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and the FBI, launched in September of 2021, with an allegation of sexual assault against O’Brien regarding what was reported as a series of incidents between 2004 and 2008 in Aspen, allegedly involving a juvenile victim.

As part of the investigation, the Aspen Police Department spoke with at least 26 law enforcement agencies, interviewed more than 80 witnesses, and reviewed a polygraph report that O’Brien voluntarily submitted to. In total, Aspen Police, led by Detective Jeremy Johnson, invested more than 500 hours into this case in an attempt to find the truth.

“We understand the significant impact this case had on (the reporting person), Father O’Brien, St. Mary’s, and our community,” Detective Sergeant Rick Magnuson said. “We appreciate the patience that was given as investigators pursued this case; we are confident that we have reached the proper conclusion.”

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, contact Aspen Police at 1-970-920-5310, or Response Aspen at or 1-970-925-7233. In this case, as with all sexual assault investigations, Aspen Police starts every conversation with “I believe you.”