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San Luis Obispo County

Former Mountainbrook church pastor inappropriately touched women, drank excessively, church investigation says

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Mountainbrook Church on Facebook
Mountainbrook Church accepted Thom and Sherri O'Leary's decision to resign from their pastoral positions.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The Mountainbrook church Board of Directors sent a letter to church members about the behavior of its former pastor.

Former Pastor Thom O'Leary and his wife Executive Pastor Sherri O'Leary resigned from their positions at the church at the end of January.

In the letter, the church's Board of Directors said an outside private investigator was hired.

The investigator found a pattern of sexual harassment involving Thom O'Leary including "inappropriate touching of three female staff members and another woman, privately texting women for an extended period of time to a point where it made them feel uncomfortable, excessive drinking, and credit card charges that appeared to be for personal expenses," the letter said.

The church's board also said a team of men and women pastors from Vineyard USA reviewed the church's process and met with those involved in the alleged actions, according to the letter.

The church's board commended the women who came forward to share their stories. The board said it recognizes it takes courage to step up.

"We also brought in professional counselors who specialize in working with victims of sexual assault and harassment, to share with the entire staff and provide ongoing counseling. Following this, our staff went through a Sexual Harassment Prevention training in December. Presently, we are updating our protocol for reporting such instances to expedite and facilitate bringing issues like this to the surface," the letter said.

Bryce Hanamoto

Bryce Hanamoto is a producer at KEYT|KCOY|KKFX.