$2.3 Million for Abused Altar Boy's Suicide
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (CN) - The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will pay $2.25 million to the parents of an altar boy who committed suicide after being sexually abused by a priest.
Brian Teeman was 14 when he died of a gunshot wound in 1983.
His parents, Donald and Rosemary Teeman, sued the Diocese in Jackson County Court in 2011 after learning of the abuse from a fellow altar boy.
The Teemans claimed that the Diocese covered up sexual abuse by Monsignor Thomas J. O'Brien for decades. They also sued O'Brien, 86, who has repeatedly denied allegations, the Kansas City Star reported.
Missouri has a three-year statute of limitations for wrongful death, but Jackson County Circuit Judge Michael Manners agreed with the Teemans that the statute should be suspended because of what they claimed was the Diocese's cover-up.
The Missouri Supreme Court upheld Manners' ruling.
The Diocese claimed there was no proof that it knew Teeman had been abused, no proof that Brian Teeman had committed suicide, or that he had committed suicide due to abuse.
The Diocese said in a statement that reaching the settlement was the best option in light of the financial and emotional toll a prolonged trial would have cost.
"In these circumstances, the Diocese believes that the settlement is in the best interest of the Teeman family, Nativity of Mary parish community and the people of the Diocese as a whole," the Diocese told the Star.