SANTA FE, N.M. — The names of many of the former priests identified as alleged sexual abusers in recent New Mexico lawsuits have turned up frequently since the pedophile crisis erupted publicly in the early 1990s, here and in other states.
Among the former priests are those who were expelled from dioceses across the U.S. after being accused of sexually abusing children and were then sent to a treatment facility for priests in Jemez Springs operated by a Catholic religious order, Servants of the Paraclete.
Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall has filed 53 lawsuits since 2011 in 2nd Judicial District Court against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe on behalf of alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests. Of those, 35 have been settled, 18 remain active and at least 10 are scheduled for trial next year.
Some of the most notorious of the alleged pedophile priests:
- David Holley pleaded guilty in 1993 to sexually molesting eight boys in Alamogordo and was sentenced to 275 years in prison, where he died in 2008.
A 2013 lawsuit filed by an Albuquerque man, now 36, alleged that Holley abused him at St. Jude’s Church in Alamogordo in the mid-1970s while Holley served as an assistant pastor.
Holley was sent in 1971 by a Massachusetts diocese to the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs after he was accused of molesting boys.
- Jason E. Sigler, 76, pleaded guilty in 2003 to two counts of criminal sexual misconduct for molesting boys at a Catholic church in Michigan.
Sigler was a central figure in clerical abuse lawsuits filed in New Mexico in the 1990s. A Las Vegas man alleges in a 2014 lawsuit that Sigler sexually abused him from 1973-76 at Immaculate Conception Church in Las Vegas.
Sigler was released from a Michigan prison in 2014 and moved to a house in Albuquerque’s Taylor Ranch subdivision.
- Arthur Perrault. In a 2014 lawsuit, a 34-year-old man alleges that he was abused repeatedly in 1991-92 by Perrault, who was then assigned by the archdiocese to Saint Bernadette parish in Albuquerque.
Perrault was the target of several lawsuits against the archdiocese in the 1990s. He left Albuquerque after allegations of his sexual misconduct surfaced in 1992. His whereabouts are unknown.
- James Porter pleaded guilty in 1993 to molesting 28 children during his time as a priest in the 1960s and early 1970s in the Fall River, Mass., diocese.
He was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete facility in Jemez Springs in 1967 and, from there, was transferred to St. Alice Church in Mountainair. He has been named in clerical abuse lawsuits in Minnesota, Texas and New Mexico.
A New Mexico native alleged in a lawsuit filed last month that Porter raped him in Mountainair in the late 1960s. Porter remained in prison until 2004 and died in 2005.
- Michael O’Brien is identified in 17 lawsuits filed by Hall as the priest who sexually abused boys in churches across northern New Mexico in the 1970s and 1980s.
O’Brien pastored at churches in Ranchos de Taos, Mora, Las Vegas and Questa from 1977 to 1989. At least nine of those suits have been settled. O’Brien died in 1993.