ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Five new childhood sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe – two involving alleged Catholic priest assaults on girls, and one alleged victim coming forward more than 60 years after the abuse occurred.
Defendants include parishes in Albuquerque and in the northern New Mexico communities of Ranchos de Taos and Abiquiú and the Servants of the Paraclete, which ran a treatment center for pedophile priests in Jemez Springs.
The lawsuits, filed by the Albuquerque law firm of Brad Hall this week in state District Court in Albuquerque, contend the archdiocese caused childhood sexual abuse by priests and failed to prevent the misconduct, causing decades of harm to victims who suppressed what occurred to them as children.
Not until this year, through therapy, did all five alleged victims begin “to connect the dots” between their current harms and their abuse by priests as children, the lawsuits state.
“Any statute of limitations in New Mexico begins running in 2018 with the rise and discovery of this therapeutic need, and discovery of the conduct of Defendants,” states one of the lawsuits.
One of the four priests named in the civil lawsuits, Arthur Perrault, is in custody awaiting trial on federal criminal charges related to the alleged sexual abuse of an altar boy in the early 1990s.
The lawsuit Hall’s firm filed this week alleges Perrault also sexually abused a minor female parishioner in 1988 at his office at St. Bernadette Parish, in the context of a one-on-one interview in advance of her Catholic confirmation.
The lawsuit filed by Jane Doe “M” contends she began to be abused at the age of 10 in 1969 by Fr. Ralph Pairon at St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Abiquiú.
In the case of John Doe “93,” his lawsuit contends he was a victim of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by Father Joseph Maguire in 1955, when he was 12 years old, at the San Francisco de Asis Parish in Ranchos de Taos.
The lawsuit filed by John Doe “90” against St. Therese Parish, contends Father Ignacio Tafoya sexually abused him in 1974.
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe knew there were pedophiles in its midst, and certainly had such knowledge before Plaintiff was abused in 1974. Indeed, a number of other pedophile priests were assigned to teach at St. Therese Catholic School before and after the abuse of Plaintiff by Fr. Tafoya,” the lawsuit alleges.
The fifth lawsuit alleges Fr. Wilfred Bombardier sexually abused him beginning in 1967, while teaching the 13-year-0ld boy how to swim and during overnight camping trips in a cabin in the Sandia Mountains.
The lawsuit filed by Jane Doe “M” seeks release of documents to the public showing how the Church stopped or dissuaded potential prosecutions and investigations by child protective service workers. The lawsuit also seeks to make public “documents that show the Church fought for a harsh Statute of Limitations in the 1990s to cut off all claims by victims.”