2 Sue Ex-Priest, Allege Depression from Sex Abuse

By Tim Bryant
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 11, 2003

Two men who claim depression from sexual abuse when they were boys filed a joint suit Monday in St. Louis against a former priest who is accused in another suit.

Their targets are the Rev. Robert J. Yim, who has since left the Roman Catholic Church to be a United Church of Christ minister, and the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

One of Monday's plaintiffs filed anonymously as a John Doe. The other, identified as Timothy Snyder, said in a prepared statement that he hoped to inspire fellow abuse victims not to "suffer in silence."

Snyder was unavailable for comment. His lawyers said he was now in his late 20s and attending college in the area.

Yim could not be reached for comment Monday.

Monsignor Richard F. Stika, vicar general of the archdiocese, told reporters that Yim "chose to resign from active ministry in 1995" while working as a chaplain at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Stika declined to discuss the allegations of the suit, filed in St. Louis Circuit Court.

The suit claims that Yim, 54, abused Snyder between 1989 and 1994 at St. Paul Catholic Church in Fenton, where Yim began counseling Snyder when he was in the fifth grade, or at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

The suit alleges that Yim sexually molested the other man in the early 1970s. At that time, Yim was a priest at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in Ellisville. The man still lives in the St. Louis area.

On Feb. 19, a south St. Louis County resident sued Yim, alleging sexual misconduct in the 1980s. That plaintiff, whose identity was not disclosed, claimed Yim abused him at St. Paul in Fenton.

After Yim's disaffiliation with the archdiocese, he joined the United Church of Christ and continued his work as a cardiac unit chaplain at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He left there in March last year.

The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages.

Doe said in a statement read by a supporter that he is seeking closure. "I am hoping someday to walk back into the church with trust," the statement said.


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