Two new rulings in wrongful death cases
Archdiocese loses in cases of victims' suicides
In one, unusual suit moves closer toward a trial
In another, Carlson loses & insurance company wins
Both stem from charges that Catholic priests assaulted boys
SNAP also blasts church officials over delay in high profile trial
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose new court rulings against the St. Louis Catholic archdiocese in two unrelated but similar wrongful death lawsuits filed by parents of suicide victims. They will also
--read a statement by the victim’s parents in one of the cases,
--urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the two priests' crimes to get help and call police, and
– blast St. Louis' archbishop for seeking – and winning – a six month delay in a high profile child sex abuse and cover up trial.
Thursday, Feb 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Outside Rosati-Kain High School, 4389 Lindell (corner of Newstead) in the Central West End
Four-six child sex abuse victims who belong to a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Over the past two weeks, St. Louis Catholic officials have lost important court rulings in two similar but unrelated wrongful death lawsuits stemming from alleged clergy sex crimes.
In one, the archdiocese lost its bid to throw out a suit charging that a young man killed himself in 2009 because he was molested by a priest. And in the other (a more unusual case), the archdiocese lost in a bid to get one of its insurers to pay for a clergy sex abuse settlement stemming from a victim's 2003 suicide.
(Last year, a Kansas City man settled a wrongful death suit against that diocese for $2.3 million. http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/10/59227.htm)
But in a third case, just 48 hours ago, Archbishop Robert Carlson won a ruling in a high profile child sex abuse and cover up case. St. Louis City Judge Phil Heagney gave Carlson a six month postponement of a trial involving a now-defrocked priest, Joseph D. Ross, who was convicted years ago of molesting a boy and is accused of also molesting a girl. The trial is now set for July. (Ross' whereabouts are allegedly unknown).
(This is the case in which Carlson was penalized for refusing to turn over records about 115 child molesting St. Louis clerics. Recently, Carlson did release some of those documents.)
Here are more details:
1) In May 2013, Florissant parents sued, charging that Fr. Bryan Michael Kuchar molested their then-13 year old son between 1999-2002 at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. (The boy was interested in becoming a priest.) At the time, Fr. Kuchar had an office in the seminary in Shrewsbury and headed the archdiocesan “vocations office,” assigned with recruiting priests.
“Other ‘campers’ and people who worked at the seminary or within the camp observed Fr. Kuchar’s interest” in the boy “and noticed the time that the two spent alone,” the suit says. At the camp, Fr. Kuchar “viciously abused the boy while he was functioning in his role as a priest, mentor and authority figure.”
“The sexual exploitation caused (the boy) extreme emotional distress (and) he became severely depressed, attempting suicide on numerous occasions,” the suit alleges. In 2009, “as a direct result of the psychological, spiritual and emotional toll his childhood abuse took on him,” he took his own life. The victim was 21. http://cch-law.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Petition-filed-5-2-13.pdf
In 2003, Kuchar was found guilty of sexually assaulting another boy in 1995 at Assumption Catholic Church in south St. Louis County. In 2006, Kuchar was released from jail, sent to a church center for pedophile priests and formally removed from the priesthood in 2006. Now, he is believed to be working at the Lumiere hotel/casino downtown.
In recent years, he had also worked at several Starbucks locations in St. Charles and St. Louis counties. He’s a registered sex offender: http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/CJ38/searchRegistry.jsp
The parents are suing, the suit says, “in order to hold Defendants responsible for the suffering and eventual death of their son which was caused by sexual abuse perpetrated upon their son by Father Kuchar, one of Defendants’ employees, and to protect other children from the pain of childhood sexual abuse.”
Kuchar also worked at the Cathedral on Lindell, Rosati-Kain High School, St. Timothy Church in Affton, and St. John the Baptist Church in south St. Louis. He also helped direct the archdiocesan vocations office, recruiting teenagers and men to the priesthood. Kuchar also lived at St. John the Baptist High School in the city's Bevo neighborhood.
Kuchar, now in his mid 40s, lives at 492 Parkgate Drive in Lake St Louis. http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov/CJ38/Search He has worked at several Starbucks in the area.
A copy of Judge Beam’s order, issued last Wednesday, is here: http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/14/01/124012P.pdf
2) In 2003, the family of Christopher Klump filed a wrongful death lawsuit charging that Fr. Michael S. McGrath sexually molested Christopher, which directly resulted in his suicide. It was the first lawsuit of its kind in Missouri.
Between 1984 and 1988, Christopher Klump belonged to St. Bernadette's parish in South County. During part of that time, McGrath was assigned to nearby St. Simon's parish, but became better acquainted with the family when he performed the oldest daughter's wedding ceremony. McGrath began taking the young boy on outings and repeatedly sexually abused him.
As a result of the abuse Chris struggled with depression. On March 2, 2003, he committed suicide by taking a cocaine overdose and was found dead in a downtown hotel. He committed suicide shortly after learning he could no longer file a suit against McGrath because of the statute of limitations. He had been a student at UM-St. Louis and had served five years in the Marines.
Klump was abused by McGrath from 1984-1987 when he was in the fourth grade.
McGrath is one of St. Louis’s the most prolific child abusers. He was ordained in 1975 and worked in Florissant (St. Ferdinand's, 1976-78), Wentzville (St. Patrick's, 1979-81), Overland (All Souls 1982-83), Concord Village (St. Simon's, 1984-88), Pagedale (St. Catherine of Sienna, 1990), and Bridgeton (St. Mary's, 1991-96). From 1997 until 1998, he was not was listed in the Official Catholic Directory.