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Where Does Priest Abuse Take Place?

Where Does Priest Abuse Take Place?

Sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is a significant problem in the United States and worldwide. Unfortunately, the abuse and its consequences are rarely limited to the 4 walls of the church. Allegations of priest abuse have popped up in Albuquerque and across New Mexico, and an expose from NBC News reveals former church members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse work as teachers, counselors, and nurses – and have little to no oversight within their communities.

Seemingly, priest abuse can happen anywhere at any time, but some of the most common sites of abuse include churches and schools. Sadly, even local orphanages have been home to upsetting allegations.

Queen of Heaven Grade School

A former Catholic priest at the Queen of Heaven grade school in Albuquerque faced decades of sexual abuse allegations from more than 38 people before he passed away in October 2020. His death came in the middle of a criminal trial for first-degree sexual abuse against a 7-year-old girl at the Queen of Heaven grade school.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the priest “is alleged to have begun molesting children in New Mexico soon after his ordination as a priest in the mid-1960s.” The Archdiocese of Santa Fe identified 79 clergy members as “credibly accused,” and he is one of the few to face criminal prosecution.

St. Anthony’s Orphanage

In August 2020, a lawsuit alleged sexual abuse against the Catholic priests and nuns at St. Anthony’s orphanage, located on Indian School near 12th Street. The alleged abuse took place from 1958 to 1965, and began when the victim was 6-years old. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff describes himself as a “captive sex toy” for the chaplain, visiting nuns, and priests.

After the filing, additional victims came forward, indicating a decades-long pattern of abuse and exploitation at the orphanage, which was closed in the early 80s.

Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base

The New Mexico state attorney had to extradite one priest from Morocco in order to convict him of sexually abusing children at the Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque in the 1990s. The priest, who was convicted in October 2019, fled the country in 1992, after multiple victims came forward with allegations of abuse.

Most of the victims were young boys under the age of 12 and suffered hundreds of instances of abuse while the convicted priest was a chaplain at the Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base, a Catholic priest at St. Bernadette’s parish and Our Lady of Assumption, and a teacher at St. Pius Catholic High School.

Coverage from Courthouse News Service reveals he attempted to appeal his 30-year sentence in November 2020.

Various Local Churches, Dioceses, and Parishes

Complaints have been filed against the Las Cruces and El Paso dioceses, the pastor and administrator of St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Silver City, the pastor and administrator of St. Francis de Paula Church Inc. in Tularosa, and the Order of Friars Minor — Province of St. Barbara.

Additionally, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is facing bankruptcy due to the sheer number of abuse allegations and settlements.

The archdiocese website lists 79 priests and other Catholic clergy members who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children. These 79 New Mexico clergy members are a fraction of the 5,1000 clergy members identified by the Roman Catholic Church nationwide, about 2,000 of whom are still living.

1,700 Unsupervised Predators

The Associated Press (AP) launched an investigation into the living “credibly accused” clergy members mentioned earlier in this blog. Shockingly, the AP was able to identify nearly 1,700 clergy members living “living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement.”

Many of these people continue to volunteer within the church, and hundreds of priests hold positions of trust with access to children. Roughly 190 of them obtained professional licenses to work in education, social work, medicine, and counseling, and in some cases, the abusive clergy members found new victims.

All this is to say that priest abuse does not have to occur within the Catholic church. Even individuals who have been ousted by the institution may find new ways to prey on the vulnerable.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a current or former priest or clergy member, we encourage you to come forward.

Your actions may not only give you access to the resources you need to cope with the abuse you suffered but also help protect other families.

When you are ready, Michael J. Doyle, Attorney At Law is here to provide compassionate, experienced, and personalized support.

Call us at (505) 219-2176 today or contact us online to request a confidential consultation.

There’s no pressure to move forward, and we will not recover any legal fees unless we win compensation on your behalf.


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