March 14, 2006

Abuse by priest led to suicide, suit says

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

By Robert Patrick

A widow from the St. Louis area filed a wrongful death suit Monday against a jailed priest and the Roman Catholic Church, claiming the priest's sexual abuse of her husband caused him to commit suicide last year.

The husband, identified in court papers as "John Doe GS," filed his own suit just two months before his death. The suit says the Rev. Romano Ferraro abused him at St. Joan of Arc parish in south St. Louis multiple times in the early 1980s, when the plaintiff was 10 to 11. The suit also says the St. Louis Archdiocese knew or should have known that Ferraro was a danger.

John Doe GS, a computer industry worker, suppressed his memory of the abuse until the latter half of 2004, the lawsuits say. He struggled with episodic depression throughout his life. When he finally realized the root cause, he began to suffer more severe bouts of depression and attempted suicide on multiple occasions, even though he aggressively sought therapy, according to the lawsuits and a statement released Monday by the widow. He died July 14 of a gunshot wound.

Posted by kshaw at March 14, 2006 07:05 AM