Ex-Las Cruces pastor accused of molesting teenage girl in 1970s - Albuquerque Journal

Ex-Las Cruces pastor accused of molesting teenage girl in 1970s

LAS CRUCES – A civil complaint filed in Albuquerque alleges a former Las Cruces Catholic priest sexually abused a teenage girl in the 1970s.

The Rev. Jesus Goni was a pastor at St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church at the time of the alleged incident.

The plaintiff, who is identified as Jane Doe 43 in the lawsuit, accuses Goni of ordering her into his office in approximately May 1970 and inappropriately touching her. She was about 14 years old at the time. She was brought up to obey priests and did not think she would be believed if she told anyone what had been done to her, the lawsuit stated, and kept the incident secret “for many years.”

This is believed to be the first accusation of sexual abuse against Goni. According to the St. Genevieve’s website, Goni became an assistant pastor in 1965 and head pastor in 1970. It appears that he left the church by 1974.

The plaintiff is asking for a trial by jury and damages to compensate for the emotional stress and physical and psychological harm.

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso and St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church were also named in the complaint as being negligent and failing to prevent the abuse. St. Genevieve’s was a part of the El Paso Diocese at the time.

Fernando Ceniceros with the Diocese of El Paso said they were unable to provide any information about Goni due to the ongoing lawsuit, but are aware of the allegation. Christopher Velasquez with the Diocese of Las Cruces confirmed that Goni was never part of the Las Cruces Diocese, which was formed in 1982.

The law firm of Hall & Monagle, LLC is representing the plaintiff. The firm has represented several alleged victims of abuse by Catholic leaders in New Mexico.

This is the latest in a string of abuse allegations against southern New Mexico Catholic leaders from the 1950s to 2001 that have come to light.

The Las Cruces Diocese, in February 2019, released thousands of pages of files involving 28 priests who face credible allegations of sexually abusing children and 13 additional priests who have been the subject of credible allegations while serving in another diocese.

A lawsuit filed in August 2019 alleges a 9-year-old boy was sexually abused multiple times by a nun at Holy Cross Parish and School in Las Cruces in 1978.

In September 2019, two lawsuits were filed, one alleging a pastor of San Miguel Parish in La Mesa sexually abused children in the 1970s and another alleging a pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Roswell sexually abused an 11-year-old girl in 2001.

In May 2020, a lawsuit centered on child molestation allegations involving a priest at two Alamogordo Catholic parishes. The court trial for the Rev. David Holley has been scheduled for July 2022.

Two southern New Mexico Catholic priests were accused in August 2020 of child sexual abuse. The Revs. Roderick Nichols and Damian Gamboa were named as defendants in those cases which occurred in the 1980s and 1990s in Silver City and Tularosa. Trials have been set in the two cases for February 2022 in 3rd Judicial District Court.

Home » From the newspaper » Ex-Las Cruces pastor accused of molesting teenage girl in 1970s


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Journal Poll: Ronchetti enjoys big lead over GOP rivals ...
2022 election
Strong name recognition puts ex-meteorologist at ... Strong name recognition puts ex-meteorologist at top of primary pack
2
APD investigating homicide in NE Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police suspect foul play in ... Albuquerque police suspect foul play in the death of a man at an apartment complex off of Central near Tramway early Sunday morning. Gilbert ...
3
ABQ resident donates grand piano to Easter Island
ABQnews Seeker
Loralee Cooley gifts her beloved Steinway ... Loralee Cooley gifts her beloved Steinway to the School of Music and Arts of Rapa Nui
4
State removes breakthrough case data from COVID reports
ABQnews Seeker
Move comes as vaccinated people comprise ... Move comes as vaccinated people comprise greater share of infections
5
Favorable weather aids wildfire crews
ABQnews Seeker
Higher humidity, lower temperatures arrive, containment ... Higher humidity, lower temperatures arrive, containment steady at 40%
6
Two Democrats vie for District 1 Bernalillo County Commission ...
2022 election
Primary winner will take on uncontested ... Primary winner will take on uncontested Republican
7
NM again deadliest state for pedestrians
ABQnews Seeker
24% increase in 2021 edges Florida's ... 24% increase in 2021 edges Florida's No. 2 ranking
8
Councilor Lewis moves to correct Planned Parenthood vote
ABQnews Seeker
Initial vote for $250K in allocation ... Initial vote for $250K in allocation of city budget was in error, councilor says
9
516 ARTS names first Native American curator
Arts
Gallup-born Rachelle B. Pablo (Diné) holds ... Gallup-born Rachelle B. Pablo (Diné) holds a master's degree in art history from the University of Delaware.
10
ABQ'S speed cameras go live Wednesday; here's the 411
ABQnews Seeker
No more warnings, $100 fines No more warnings, $100 fines