Mom Whose Son Committed Suicide Sues Priest


Photo Credits: Rolling Stone

Maison Hullibarger, 18-years-old boy from Michigan committed suicide last year. Rev. Don LaCuesta, who was at the funeral, said that the youth might be blocked from heaven because of how he died, his parents said. Now the boy’s mother, Linda Hullibarger, is suing LaCuesta, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish and the Archdiocese of Detroit for roughly $25,000 (plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees) for the trauma they’ve put her through.

Since her son’s funeral, Linda has suffered and continues to suffer severe and permanent emotional distress, terror, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of religious faith, difficulty in practicing religion through the church, severe psychological injury and deprivation of earning capacity. And she has incurred and will continue to incur expenses for psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.

A year ago, Rev. Don LaCuesta spoke at the funeral and he said the word “suicide” six times. He told mourners that Maison may be denied admittance to heaven because of the way he died. LaCuesta wondered aloud, the Hullibargers said, if Maison had repented enough in the eyes of God.

“He basically called our son a sinner,” [said] Linda. “We looked at each other and said, What is he doing?” Jeffrey said in an interview with the newspaper. “We didn’t ask for this.” Eventually, Jeffrey decided to intervene and walked to the pulpit. “Father,” he whispered, “Please stop.”

But LaCuesta kept going, the Hullibargers recounted in local news reports. “People told me there was almost a smirk on his face,” Jeff Hullibarger said. “There were actually a couple of younger boys who were Maison’s age who left the church sobbing.”

When the service finally ended, [the parents] told the priest he was no longer welcome at Maison’s gravesite burial — where the teen’s family and friends decided to say everything LaCuesta hadn’t.

The Archdiocese of Detroit almost immediately announced that LaCuesta would no longer be performing at funerals and that his sermons would be reviewed by another Church leader. The Hullibargers also vowed never to set foot back in the Church.

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