Another Alleged Victim of Sex Abuse by El Paso Priest Files Lawsuit
By Diana Washington Valdez
El Paso Times
August 24, 2013
Another alleged sexual abuse victim linked to a former El Paso priest has filed suit, said Lori Watson, a lawyer in Dallas.
"Another victim came forward who was also sexually abused by (the Rev.) Alfonso Madrid," Watson said in a statement. "This plaintiff was 8 years old when he was sexually abused by Madrid at Sacred Heart Church in the El Paso (Catholic) Diocese in 1974-1975."
The plaintiff, identified as John Doe 115, who is represented by the Merritt & Watson law firm, filed a suit this week in El Paso.
The lawsuit alleges that in 1974, Madrid chose the plaintiff and his brother to be altar boys under his tutelage, and that in 1974-1975, "Madrid sexually molested Doe 115 on multiple occasions. Madrid repeatedly sexually molested Doe 115 before and/or after mass, weddings, and other church functions. Madrid also befriended Doe 115's mother and often dropped by their home, where he also sexually molested Doe 115."
As a result of the abuse, John Doe 115 experienced physical pain and suffering, bodily injury, suffered severe mental anguish, and likely will sustain mental anguish in the future, the plaintiff's petition alleges.
John Doe 115 suffered other damages, his lawsuit alleges, including loss of faith in God.
Madrid, the alleged perpetrator, served in
the El Paso diocese 30 years ago and died of natural causes in 1982.
Last month, Watson said, a former student and Sacred Heart Church parishioner reached a settlement with the New Orleans Province of the Jesuit Order and the El Paso Catholic Diocese regarding the plaintiff's allegations of sex abuse. That plaintiff was 9 years old at the time of the abuse.
Madrid worked at a Jesuit high school in Mexico in 1966 and at Sacred Heart from 1970 to 1982. He also served in other churches in San Antonio and Albuquerque.
Based on church documents obtained from the case settled in July, Watson said "The Jesuits were aware of ... as well as knowing that he had issues with hallucinations and a nervous breakdown."
In response to the new lawsuit, El Paso Catholic Bishop Mark J. Seitz, said in a statement: "One case of abuse is too many. It will be my priority to ensure that any instances of sexual abuse by priests or religious (staff) in this Diocese are promptly reported in accordance with Texas law and thoroughly investigated. Priests or religious, or for that matter, any employee of this Diocese who is determined to have engaged in sexual abuse will be removed from his or her ministry.
"(The) Diocese has had a process in place for many years through which any person who claims to have been sexually abused by a priest, religious or employee of this Diocese can file a complaint and, if the complaint is found to be credible, receive relief in a form justified by the facts of the case," said Seitz, who was installed last month as the new bishop. "This process involves confidentiality out of respect for the complainant and has been very successful."
Diocese officials said anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse by any employee of the Roman Catholic Church is encouraged to contact local authorities as well as Susan Martinez, at the Victims Assistance Ministry, 872-8465 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"I have included in my daily prayers those who are victims of abuse for years now, and since the late 1990's I have fasted on Fridays for them and will continue to do so," Seitz said. "I would encourage all to do the same that we might bring healing to victims and end the scourge of sexual abuse."