FLORISSANT, MO. - A Florissant couple who lost their son to suicide after alleged abuse by a priest reached a settlement with the St. Louis Archdiocese.
Dan and Pat Harkins said their son, Alex, was sexually abused at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary between the ages of 12 and 14.
Alex's parents say he changed dramatically after church camp.
Initially, he was very spiritual and wanted to be come a priest. However, after the camp he was depressed and attempted suicide six times.
He didn't tell his parents about the alleged sex abuse until he was 20-years-old. He took his life in May of 2009 when he was 21-years-old. His parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in October of 2013.
They received a settlement from the St. Louis Archdiocese several weeks ago. Alex's mother, Pat Hawkins, is a volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
She says it's often difficult for children to speak out about sex abuse because they feel embarrassed or as though it's their fault. She's encouraging victims to come forward so that they can start the healing process.
Alex's parents are also encouraging victims and their families to contact police as soon as they suspect sex abuse.
They took part in a press conference with SNAP or Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priest. SNAP is urging the St. Louis Archdiocese to seek out victims who might have been abused by the priest accused of abusing Alex Harkins.
The St. Louis Archdiocese declined to go on camera, but did the release the following statement.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis has, from the outset, encouraged the Harkins family to contact the police about their claim. Due in part to some inconsistent and incomplete information, Bryan Kuchar has never been charged for the acts alleged. However, he was removed from the clerical state in September 2006 following a 2003 conviction in a separate case.
In order to avoid the uncertainties of trial and to put this matter to rest for all, a compromise settlement was reached with the family. We hope it gives them some peace and will continue to hold them in prayer.