Ex-Priest at El Paso's Sacred Heart Catholic Church Accused of Molestation

By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
June 28, 2011

A priest who formerly worked at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in El Paso is accused in a lawsuit of allegedly sexually molesting a former altar boy in the 1970s.

The Rev. Alfonso Madrid, a Jesuit priest at Sacred Heart, allegedly abused the plaintiff who is identified only as "John Doe."

The lawsuit was filed in El Paso against the El Paso Catholic Diocese and the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province, said Lori Watson, one of the lawyers in Dallas who represents the plaintiff.

The Rev. Anthony C. Celino, spokesman for the El Paso Catholic Diocese, said Madrid, who is deceased, was assigned to Sacred Heart from 1972 to 1982. He said the church in South El Paso is owned by the diocese but staffed by the Jesuit Society of Jesus, a religious order.

"The diocese (did) not receive any complaint of this nature against him before," Celino said.

Court records allege that Madrid persuaded John Doe's family to let him mentor the then-boy. John Doe, now 49, was in third grade when he became an altar boy for Madrid, who allegedly sexually molested him on various occasions.

Madrid belonged to the Jesuit society that had its offices in New Orleans. No one at the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province was available for comment on Monday.

"Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover-ups in El Paso, by Madrid or other clerics, will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing," said David Clohessy, the director in St. Louis of the organization SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

The lawsuit was filed with the 327th District Court in El Paso. A picture of Madrid is available at

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at; 546-6140.


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