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Santa Fe archdiocese faces more sex abuse suits

SANTA FE, N.M. — Lawsuits filed this week by four New Mexico men ages 33 to 62 allege they were sexually abused by priests in Archdiocese of Santa Fe parishes.

Former Roman Catholic priest Jason Sigler, 76, who returned to Albuquerque last year after completing a prison term in Michigan, is among the four priests named in the lawsuits.

The new suits, filed Monday in 2nd Judicial District Court, bring to 25 the number of lawsuits filed in recent years by Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall. Of those, 11 have been settled, Hall said.

The plaintiffs are asking for an unspecified amount of money for compensatory and punitive damages.

A 47-year-old man alleged that Sigler molested him around 1976 at a church near Coyote, about 15 miles west of Abiquiu. The man was about 9 at the time.

Sigler, a central figure in New Mexico’s clerical abuse lawsuits in the 1990s, served nine years in prison after he was convicted of molesting four boys in two Michigan dioceses in the 1970s.

Sigler listed a Taylor Ranch home as his residence last Dec. 9, the New Mexico sex offender registry shows. Neighbors said in January said that Sigler had recently moved into his wife’s home. He could not be reached for comment this week.

The remaining lawsuits, all filed against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe on behalf of unnamed men, allege incidents of sexual abuse at churches in Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Tucumcari. They include:

  • A Valencia County man, 62, alleged he was repeatedly abused in the late 1960s by Joseph Anthony Gallegos, who then served as a priest at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Tucumcari. Gallegos, who later served at parishes in Albuquerque and Clayton, was removed by the archdiocese in 1972 and died of AIDS in 1992, according to Journal reports at the time.
  • A 33-year-old man alleged he was abused repeatedly in 1991-92 by Arthur Perrault while he was assigned by the archdiocese to Saint Bernadette parish in Albuquerque. Perrault, the target of several lawsuits against the archdiocese in the 1990s, left Albuquerque after allegations of his sexual misconduct surfaced in 1992. His whereabouts are unknown.
  • A Santa Fe County man, 59, alleged he was abused in the early 1960s at the age of 6 or 7 by Monsignor Hubert C. Lomme, then-pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows parish in Las Vegas. Lomme died in 1986 at age 79.

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