A local couple is suing the St. Louis Archdiocese and Father Bryan Kuchar in a lawsuit alleging that their son was raped by the priest when he was a young boy and, once the "abuse finally overtook him," killed himself.
"It has been almost four years since his death, and we struggle with the part the Archdiocese of St. Louis played in the death of our son," the parents write in a statement. "The fault lies with the church officials who failed to keep our son and other victims of predatory priests safe."
Ken Chackes, attorney for the St. Louis couple, tells Daily RFT, "The sexual abuse was a cause of the death."
See also: - St. Louis Priest William Vatterott Indicted on Child Pornography Charge - St. Louis Archdiocese Fight Against Contraception: Lawsuit Dismissed - Pope Francis I: St. Louis SNAP Say He's Not One of "Dirty Dozen"
The suit, brought forward by John Doe and Jane Doe, says that the boy was between twelve and fourteen years old when he attended a camp at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in the county, "designed for children who were interested in learning more about the Archdiocese."
Kuchar, the suit says, was employed in the vocations office at the seminary and was tasked with assisting young boys who are interested in entering the priesthood or serving the archdiocese in some capacity. Campers and employees at the seminary or within the camp "observed Kuchar's interest in John Doe SON and noticed the time that the two spent alone," the lawsuit continues. (In a different case, Kuchar was found guilty of molesting a young boy and was suspended by the archdiocese and defrocked by the Vatican.)
The boy was raised in a Catholic home and wanted to become a priest.
"John Doe SON developed great admiration, trust, reverence and respect for Roman Catholic priests and Father Kuchar in particular," according to the suit, which emphasizes that at all relevant times, the camp and Kuchar were under the direct supervision and control of the archdiocese.
Between 1999 and 2002, Kuchar allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with him during the overnights of the camp.
Years later, he confided in his parents that Kuchar "raped him" the suit says, adding that he also told mental-health providers and confided in at least one friend. The abuse had a significant impact on his health, the suit says, explaining:
As a direct result of the acts...[he] suffered great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem....
Soon after his contact with Kuchar, John Doe SON made his first suicide attempt by drinking antifreeze....
John Doe SON's depression continued with suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts revolving around his childhood sexual abuse. 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. He increasingly became convinced that no help would be forthcoming and his psychic pain would never improve.
He killed himself in May of 2009 at age 21. He was a lifelong Florissant resident and left behind his two siblings and parents, who now live in the county.
Chackes, who has handled close to 100 cases related to local sexual abuse allegations against priests, says that he has twice been involved in cases in which the abuse led to suicide. "There have been others around the country," he adds.
Continue for more from Ken Chackes, response from the archdiocese and a copy of the full suit.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.