Catholic priest sued again over alleged sexual abuse

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Two men on Monday accused a Roman Catholic priest of sexually abusing them while serving as their childhood mentor and counselor, bringing to three the number of people who have sued the clergyman in less than three weeks.

The latest St. Louis Circuit Court lawsuit accuses the Rev. Robert J. Yim of molesting one victim in 1972 or 1973 at St. Clare of Assisi parish in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin, as well as during a trip to Kansas City.

The lawsuit identified that accuser only as "John Doe."

The other plaintiff in the latest suit, Timothy Snyder, alleges that Yim sexually abused him from 1989 to 1994, at the St. Paul school Snyder attended in Fenton and at Yim's office at a hospital.

Snyder also alleges Yim told erotic stories, swam naked with him and exposed his genitals.

Monday's lawsuit came 19 days after a St. Louis County man -- identified only as "John Doe 73" -- sued Yim, alleging sodomy and other sexual abuse by Yim in 1986 and 1987 when the man was a grade-school student in the Fenton parish.

The lawsuits, which also name the St. Louis Archdiocese for allegedly concealing Yim's misconduct, seek unspecified damages.

Yim does not have a listed home telephone number. A St. Louis Circuit Court clerk said Monday that court filings in last month's lawsuit do not list an attorney of record for Yim. Attorneys for the three plaintiffs said Monday they were unaware of whether Yim has legal counsel.

In a statement Monday, the archdiocese said Yim resigned from active ministry in the archdiocese eight years ago. Citing the lawsuits, the archdiocese declined further comment.

"Only now am I beginning to understand the massive impact this abuse has had on me," Snyder wrote in a prepared statement. "However, now I come forward, not only for myself but for others who currently suffer in silence."

Monday's "John Doe" wrote separately that "after 30 years of anguish, depression, etc., I have finally come to terms with a healing process. Knowing that this abuse in my life was not my fault."

Neither of the accusers attended a news conference outside the archdiocese office.

Their attorneys and advocates said both men still lived in the St. Louis area -- Snyder as a college student, "John Doe" as a construction worker. For privacy reasons, no other details were given.

Yim, ordained in 1974, served as associate pastor at the Ballwin church from 1975 to 1978, at St. Dominic Savio in Affton from 1982 to 1984, and at St. Paul's parish in Fenton from 1985 to 1989.

Yim, who served in Latin America from 1979 to 1981, left the active ministry and the archdiocese in 1995. From 1990 until last year, he served as chaplain at what now is St. Louis' Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in later years as a United Church of Christ member.

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