The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has been hit with four more lawsuits by men alleging they were sexually abused by priests as children, and one of those lawsuits also names Our Lady of Sorrows Parish as a defendant.
The lawsuit naming Our Lady of Sorrows was filed Monday in state District Court in Albuquerque. Among other things, the suit alleges that the archdiocese empowered priests to abuse children by its handling of pedophile priests and by clinging to secrecy in order to protect them and itself from scandal.
“Despite the known danger pedophile priests posed to the Catholic children of northern New Mexico, defendants not only placed known or likely pedophile priests into New Mexico parishes, including Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, but deliberately chose to conceal the fact of the priest’s problems, including likely pedophilia, from parish communities,” the lawsuit states.
Neither the archdiocese nor the parish office is commenting on this latest batch of lawsuits.
The complaint, filed by Albuquerque attorney Brad D. Hall, lists the plaintiff only as “John Doe ‘G,’” stating that he is currently a 59-year-old resident of Santa Fe County who just recently began dealing with and articulating what happened to him as a child.
It alleges that the plaintiff was sexually abused at least a half dozen times at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish by Monsignor Hubert C. Lomme. It also alleges that the abuse occurred during a confession ritual.
“As a 7 or 8 year old child, plaintiff was forced by Monsignor Lomme to ‘confess’ his sins, but not in the actual physical confessional,” the lawsuit alleges. “After hearing plaintiff’s confession, Monsignor Lomme would order plaintiff to pull down his pants at which time Monsigor Lomme would fondle plaintiff’s genitals for a while…”
The complaint goes on to describe in detail additional sexual acts.
“The priest did ‘confession’ like this at least six times over a period of months,” the lawsuit alleges. It also alleges that Lomme ordered the boy to never tell anyone what happened in the confessional, warning him that “God would be made angry if he told.” The suit alleges that after the abuse, Lomme would usually give the boy a quarter or a few dimes.
The suit also alleges that Lomme molested numerous children in a similar manner.
Lomme died in 1986.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress as a result of the abuse and is now undergoing psychological treatment.
“Plaintiff now suffers from embarrassment, humiliation, utter destruction and loss of faith, loss of sexual capacity and intimacy, loss of self-esteem, depression, anger issues and other damages,” the lawsuit states. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
The three other lawsuits allege abuse that occurred in 1966 and 1967 at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Tucumcari by Father Joseph Anthony Gallegos; in 1976 in Coyote by Father Jason Sigler and in 1991 and 1992 at St. Bernadette Parish in Albuquerque by Father Arthur Perrault.
“The abuse of the boys includes multiple rapes carried out at various occasions and locations in the 1990s and before, by Perrault, Sigler and Fr. Tony Gallegos in northeastern New Mexico,” a news release issued by Hall’s office states. The news release also states that delayed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder effects often arise in adults decades after the childhood abuse.
“Everyone knows about that phenomena, including the archdiocese,” Hall said. “That is why our legislature revised the statute of limitations in the 1990s when it became clear there might be hundreds of children victims, and we believe there are still many victims out there who may need help pursuing therapeutic recovery.”
These four lawsuits are just the latest in a long string of lawsuits that have been brought against the archdiocese in the last 16 months.
In May of 2013, the local Our Lady of Sorrows Parish was sued by a former altar boy who alleged that the now-deceased Rev. Michael O’Brien molested and raped him for several years beginning in 1985. Nine other lawsuits were filed around the same time by men who alleged that O’Brien sexually abused them as children.