Mountainbrook Church pastors resign after sexual misconduct investigation

February 2, 2020

Pastor Thom O’Leary

By CCT STAFF

Mountainbrook Church Lead Pastor Thom O’Leary and his wife Executive Pastor Sherri O’Leary resigned after an investigation validated allegations of groping and alcohol abuse.

The church board placed Thom O’Leary on paid leave on Nov. 4, a few days after learning of the allegations against him. At that time, board members also placed Sherry O’Leary on leave.

The O’Leary’s resignation from the church was confirmed in the following statement from Mountainbrook Board of Directors to church members this weekend:

Dear Mountainbrook Church Family,

We know this has been a difficult and emotional time for all of you regarding our present situation with Lead Pastor, Thom O’Leary, and Executive Pastor, Sherri O’Leary, being on a leave of absence over the past three months. We have come to a resolution for Thom and Sherri’s future at Mountainbrook Church. They have both resigned from their respective positions at Mountainbrook effective January 31st.

The Board has accepted their resignations.

As most of you already know, this started when there were concerns raised that Thom had engaged in inappropriate conduct toward certain women. We hired an independent investigator who found those concerns to be valid. During that process, concerns surfaced about use of Church funds. Those concerns have now been resolved.

Through all of this, and after spending many, many hours working together on a path forward, the Board and the O’Learys agreed that it would be best for all concerned – and the future and unity of the Church – for them to resign.

We know that change can oftentimes be difficult; but we know that God has a plan for us as we move forward into this new season. We love Thom and Sherri and are grateful for how God has used them in our lives over the years. Even though they have found themselves in a place where they need significant time to find healing, this does not negate the many years of good things that they facilitated through their roles at Mountainbrook. God has accomplished tremendous things through their leadership at Mountainbrook. Thom has personally led many of us to Christ. This situation changes none of that.

We as a Board, hope and pray for Thom and Sherri’s health and well-being. Vineyard USA has offered to explore ways they might be able to help them in their recovery and healing. We are grateful to the Vineyard team for their support for the O’Leary’s as well as our Church family.

At Mountainbrook, we have a great community of committed members, amazing volunteers and staff who serve selflessly. Our interim executive leadership team will be working alongside the board, the staff, and the congregation to lead the church as we move ahead.

Join us in supporting and praying for Thom and Sherri as they navigate this unexpected journey. And as they encouraged you to do in their letter we just read, please continue to support Mountainbrook through your prayers, through your serving, and your giving, so that we can work together to continue to share the love and power of Jesus. Let this be an opportunity to make our church healthier and to draw closer to Jesus.

We know that God has a purpose in this and a future for His church.

To God be the glory,

Mountainbrook Board

O’Leary has close ties to local law enforcement. He served as the chaplain for the San Luis Obispo Police Department and on the SLO Police Chief’s Roundtable.

Additionally, O’Leary served as the pastor for the Cal Poly football team, and he also led a prayer beside President Donald Trump. The president described O’Leary as a “great pastor.”


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JB Bronson

Geez Thom. You were quite the entertainer with your preschool jokes. You were the star of your sermons.


Now, maybe Jesus will take center stage at Mountainbrook.


charger805

I am totally not surprised by any of this based on how tight his pants are alone. Yikes!


ravennest

Why am I not surprised? Happens over and over and over again. When people worship people this is what you get. Mega churches prey on people, take their money, spend it, the leaders live lavishly, have affairs, church board members look the other way. Oh, but this preacher met with Trump, they say, as if to exonerate him. I say he and Trump are two peas in a pod.


Freethebud

Yep, This is just the kind of man Trump worships. Two peas in a pod indeed.


DocT

Jesus might forgive, but the board of directors does not!


While I confess ignorance to the apparently nuanced concepts in this religion, it does cause me to wonder:


If Jesus forgave Peter after he cut off a guys ear and denied believing in Jesus 3 times with foul language to boot…..why do the board of directors not forgive the pastor?


To me—-and again, I am ignorant—-I’d stay away from this place. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I’d hate to be kicked out for struggling.


I suppose had the board of directors been present when Jesus said, “He who hasn’t sinned cast the first stone,” these guys would have been able to lob rocks with righteous rage. <—-sarcasm


BTW, were there criminal charges? In the age of meetooo, it seems pretty easy to file criminal charges against the demographic that Pastor Thom represents.


womanwhohasbeenthere

I don’t go there, but it looks like the board has said, “Your behavior was inappropriate, therefore we can’t trust you any longer”. Can Jesus forgive him? Of course. Can the board and church members forgive him? Yes and maybe they have already. That doesn’t mean he gets a free pass. People can and are forgiven, but they still suffer the consequences of their actions.


Jorge Estrada

Learn to give anonymously.


RalphKane

Megachurch hucksterism…never trust a “church” with big screen TVs, stages, fog machines, etc. If it looks more like a Big Tech product release than a house of worship, beware.


Wildrnes

RalphCane, the article states Thom O’Leary had allegations not the church. Mountainbrook is far from mega. Thanks for cliche analogies.


Ralph Snart

I wish my mother couldn’t give her money to the QVC channel. It turns out that it is her money and she can spend it on Hummel Figurines or any other B.S. that makes her feel complete. Law says she is allowed to donate to religious organizations too…. Do you have any recommendations for a venomous snake handling church?


KAG2020

Also, never trust a church where the churchgoers talk more about how wonderful the pastor is than about how wonderful God is. If they treat the pastor like a movie star, run like the wind.