Suits Allege Priest Abuse, Seek Punitive Damages
December 17, 2015
An attorney filed four lawsuits in state District Court on Thursday against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and three New Mexico priests, alleging they sexually abused young children in different parishes across the state.
The lawsuits accuse Bernard Bissonnette, Sabine Griego and Edward Rutowski of sexually abusing boys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. The suits, among dozens of similar complaints filed by attorney Brad Hall in recent years, claims the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is responsible for the priests’ alleged actions. They seek punitive damages.
Hall filed the lawsuits in the 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque.
One suit alleges Bissonnette raped a man identified as “John Doe 56” hundreds of times between 1968 and 1973 when he was between the ages of 7 and 12. During that time, the suit says, John Doe 56 was an altar boy at St. Alice Parish in Mountainair.
One of two suits against Griego, filed on behalf of a man identified as “John Doe 51,” says the priest sexually abused a boy more than 20 times between 1975 and 1977, when the boy was between the ages of 10 and 12. The boy was an altar server at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Las Vegas, N.M.
In a second suit against Griego, a man identified as “John Doe 52” claims the priest abused him at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Las Vegas, N.M., and at Queen of Heaven Church in Albuquerque. The alleged abuse occurred between 1975 and 1979, when the boy was between 14 and 18.
The fourth lawsuit accuses Rutowski of abusing various boys, including a man identified as “John Doe 54.” The suit says Rutowski, who was a priest at St. Jude Thaddeus in Albuquerque, began abusing John Doe 54 from 1975 to 1979. The boy was 9 when the abuse began, the suit says.