Two new lawsuits allege sexual abuse by priests

A former Archdiocese of Santa Fe priest who surfaced in Morocco this year is the focus of a lawsuit filed last week by a New Mexico man who alleges that he was sexually abused as a teenager by Arthur Perrault at the University of Albuquerque campus.

Another lawsuit filed against the archdiocese last week alleges that a former Las Vegas priest sexually abused seven San Miguel County residents when they were children in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The Perrault lawsuit alleges that the former priest sexually abused a 17-year-old boy who enrolled in a college preparatory program at the University of Albuquerque, a now-defunct Catholic university where Perrault served as a faculty member. The lawsuit was filed in 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque on behalf of a 65-year-old New Mexico man identified only as John Doe 64.

The archdiocese responded in a written statement that it does not comment on pending litigation, but it works closely with civil authorities to ensure safety of parishioners.

The archdiocese “continues to be vigilant regarding sexual misconduct and stands firm on its zero tolerance policy,” the statement said. All employees who work with minors must pass background checks and complete safe-environment training.

Perrault vanished from his Albuquerque parish in 1992 at the onset of the clerical abuse scandal that has led to an estimated 340 lawsuits against the archdiocese, nearly all of which have been settled under confidential terms.

Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall served Perrault in April with papers in an unrelated lawsuit at an English-language school in Tangier, Morocco, where Perrault worked at the time.

Mark Holbrook, director of the American Language Center in Tangier, said in an email response to the Journal that Perrault had been a part-time English teacher at the school for 20 years.

After learning of the allegations, Holbrook said he asked Perrault to resign and barred him from the school grounds. No complaints were made against Perrault for inappropriate behavior during his employment at the school, Holbrook said.

Another lawsuit filed in 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe alleges that Monsignor Hubert C. Lomme, then-pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows parish in Las Vegas, N.M., sexually abused seven preteen boys at the church from 1959 to 1964. Lomme died in 1986 at age 79.

The suit, filed on behalf of seven unidentified men ages 62 to 66, is the first clerical abuse lawsuit filed by attorneys with the Rothstein Law Firm of Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Hall has filed 64 lawsuits against the archdiocese since 2011, all but 10 of which have been settled for undisclosed amounts.

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