Abuse Suit Filed against Former Priest
By Olivier Uyttebrouck
August 12, 2016
A New Mexico native has filed a lawsuit alleging he was sexually abused in the 1970s by a former priest who turned up in Morocco earlier this year, more than a quarter century after he vanished from his Albuquerque parish.
Arthur Perrault, who helped ignite the clerical abuse crisis in New Mexico in the 1990s, was served with an unrelated lawsuit in May at an English-language school in Tangier where he apparently worked at the time.
The new lawsuit, filed Aug. 4 in 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, alleges that an unidentified man was sexually abused by Perrault from 1975 to 1977, both on and off church property.
The man, who now lives outside New Mexico, was abused when he was a child parishioner at Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Albuquerque, the suit says.
The lawsuit names a defendants the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Our Lady of Assumption Parish and the Servants of the Paraclete.
Perrault was sent in 1966 by the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., to a treatment facility operated by the Servants in Jemez Springs.
The archdiocese said in a written statement that it does not comment on pending litigation, “however, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe continues to be vigilant and stands firm on its zero tolerance policy regarding sexual misconduct.”
The policy includes background checks for all employees of the archdiocese, the statement said. The archdiocese also has a safe-environment coordinator and an independent review board to ensure compliance, it said.
Hall also represents Kenneth Wolter, 35, who filed a lawsuit in February alleging that he was sexually abused by Perrault in 1991 and 1992, while Wolter served as an altar boy at St. Bernadette’s Church in Albuquerque.
Hall said investigators working with an informer in Morocco learned this year that Perrault was working at an English-language school in Tangier.
Hall sent a FedEx package to the school in April containing a copy of Wolter’s lawsuit and a legal summons. An employee at the school signed for a FedEx package addressed to Perrault, court records show.
Perrault was subsequently fired from his job at the school, Hall said.
Hall asked District Judge Denise Barela-Shepherd in June to find Perrault in default and to resolve the case in Wolter’s favor. Barela-Shepherd has not ruled on the request.