Bedford family files lawsuit against priest, Archdiocese after son's funeral service

Maison Hullibarger

(WTVG) - A Bedford, Mich., family has filed a lawsuit against The Archdiocese of Detroit, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, and Father Don LaCuesta for his alleged conduct during the funeral services for Maison Hullibarger in December 2018.

The lawsuit alleges Father LaCuesta went against the wishes of Linda and Jeff Hullibarger, parents of 18-year-old Maison. The complaint states they made clear their wishes for Father LaCuesta to deliver "a positive, uplifting and positive message that celebrated the life of their son."

Instead, the lawsuit claims Father LaCuesta turned his homily into a message regarding suicide and "questioning whether the Hullibarger's son would be admitted into heaven." According to the Hullibargers, they had not disclosed or discussed the manner of their son's death with Father LaCuesta or the community.

"[A]t our child's funeral, we were taken down yet again when it was a place that we were supposed to be lifted up. And we had no idea, no indication that was going to happen," Mrs. Hullibarger said in a press release.

Following Maison's funeral service, Mrs. Hullibarger sought the removal of Father LaCuesta. According to the complaint, Bishop Gerard Battersby confirmed the church believed what Father LaCuesta did was wrong but would not remove him.

According to the lawsuit, it seeks to hold Father LaCuesta, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, and The Archdiocese of Detroit accountable for the actions of Father LaCuesta and to ensure no further harm to the parish and local community.