Archdiocese Accused of 30-Year Coverup
ALBUQUERQUE (CN) - The Archdiocese of Santa Fe protected a series of pedophile priests in a cover-up lasting at least 30 years, according to three recently filed lawsuits.
The lawsuits in Bernalillo County Court sketch a history of boys between the ages of 9 and 15 being molested by priests who the Archdiocese allegedly knew sexually children, but allowed to work with children nonetheless.
Two of the three plaintiffs claim that the priests had received treatment at the Servants of the Paraclete center in Jemez Springs, N.M., and that the Paraclete center charged an average of $10,000 for the treatment.
The treatment was intended to "cure" priests of sexual attraction to children, but "after some effort at treatment, usually by prayer, these abusers were released into New Mexico parishes and communities and hired by [the Archdiocese of Santa Fe]," John Doe D claims in his complaint.
John Doe D's lawsuit lists the names of 40 priests, including an archbishop, who the archdiocese allegedly admitted "have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse." The abuse allegedly occurred from the 1950s through the 1990s.
John Doe D claims that the archdiocese knew that its "culture of the day include(ed) a ratio of pedophile priests to non-pedophile priests of about 40 percent in the decades preceding and including plaintiff's birth and childhood."
John Doe D was born in 1981.
He claims he was abused on dozens of occasions when he was 10 and 11 years old by a priest known to the Archdiocese as a child molester.
The priest, in fact, had been sent to the Servants of the Paraclete from a parish in Connecticut after being accused of child sexual abuse and despite recommendations from the Connecticut parish that the priest no longer be allowed to work with children, according to the complaint. Nonetheless, he was sent to the University of Albuquerque to work with teenage boys and continued to have active contact with children for more than 20 years, John Doe D says in the complaint.
He claims that when accusations against the priest surfaced after decades of being hushed up, the archdiocese helped pay to send the priest to a treatment center in Canada, and when the priest went "on the lam" rather than enter the treatment center, the archdiocese continued to send him money.
In a second lawsuit, John Doe E accuses the archdiocese of deliberately concealing a priest's history of sexual abuse of children, allowing the priest to be put in a position of authority and trust over children despite his having undergone treatment at the Servants of the Paraclete center three times in 10 years.
John Doe E, who was born in 1967, claims he tried to report the priest's abuse but was told never to tell anyone what had been done to him.
In a third complaint, John Doe F says he remembers being "groomed" by his priest with gifts, praise, and special privileges before the man got him drunk and raped him. John Doe F says the priest told him that "he could not help himself."
All three men accuse the Archdiocese of Santa Fe of failing to protect or warn the victims and their families of the dangers of these abusive priests and of maintaining a culture of silence that allowed the abuse to thrive.
They seek damages for negligent hiring, failure to warn and infliction of emotional distress. All are represented by Brad Hall of Albuquerque.