St. Louis Public Radio News
12:26 pm
Tue June 10, 2003

Family Sues St. Louis Archdiocese Over Son's Suicide

St. Louis – A family has filed a wrongful death suit against the St. Louis Archdiocese, saying the church is responsible for their son's suicide.

30-year-old Christopher Klump died of an intentional cocaine overdose in March.

His brother Jason Klump says Christopher grew despondent after learning it was too late to bring charges against Father Michael McGrath, a priest who allegedly abused him in the 1980s.

"In the past year and a half Chris communicated very directly that he could not come to terms with what happened to him as a child," Klump said. "And that is the direct reason why Chris committed suicide."

Church spokesman Monsignor Richard Stika says church authorities removed Father McGrath from the priesthood in 1997 after abuse allegations surfaced.

Attorneys have not specified damages, but say the suit is the first of its kind in Missouri and the second in the United States.