Priestly Abuse Caused Suicide, Parents Say

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - A young man killed himself after years of sexual abuse by a St. Louis priest, his parents claim in court.
     John Doe 118 and Jane Doe 117 sued the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and Father Bryan Kuchar, in St. Louis County Court.
     The Does claim Kuchar sexually molested their son while he attended a church camp at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary from 1999 to 2002, when he was 12 to 14.
     Their son was thinking of becoming a priest and Kuchar was his mentor, the parents say.
     "Young John Doe SON and the defendant had a confidential and/or fiduciary relationship," the complaint states. "The power imbalance between defendants and John Doe SON increased the young boy's vulnerability to defendant Kuchar.
     "The nature of the relationship and the sexual exploitation perpetrated upon young John Doe SON caused him extreme emotional distress.
     "John Doe SON became severely depressed, and he attempted suicide on numerous occasions. He suffered greatly as a result of the abuse, and his parents suffered in trying to keep their son alive and healthy.
     "John Doe SON committed suicide on May 29, 2009, as a direct result of the psychological, spiritual and emotional toll his childhood abuse took on him."
     The Does claim they learned of their son's molestation in 2008, sometime after he first tried to kill himself by drinking antifreeze.
     "John Doe SON told them that 'Father Kuchar raped' him," the complaint states.
     Then the Catholic Church exacerbated the abuse, the parents say.
     "He still wanted to become a priest, and officials from the Archdiocese told him that he could never be a priest because he had attempted suicide," the complaint states. "He increasingly because convinced that no help would be forthcoming and his psychic pain would never improve, causing him to commit suicide on or about May 29, 2009."
     The parents say they filed the complaint anonymously "because they fear further psychological and emotional injury if their real names were publicly disclosed."
     Another person who claimed that Kuchar sexually abused him, in 2000 and 2001, sued the priest in St. Louis City Court in 2004. That lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice in 2005.
     The Does seek actual and punitive damages for wrongful death, sexual abuse and battery, negligent supervision of a priest, intentional failure to supervise clergy, negligent failure to supervise children, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of fiduciary duty.
     They are represented by Kenneth M. Chackes, with Chackes, Carlson & Halquist.