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  Suit against 'Girls Club' Priest Amended

By Susanne Burks
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
June 15, 1995

A woman who alleged in an April lawsuit that a priest formed a "girls club" as a vehicle for finding victims for sexual abuse has filed an amended version removing one defendant and adding three.

"It took us a long time to find out who the right people are," plaintiff's attorney Michael Alarid Jr. said Wednesday.

He also said other plaintiffs may be added to the suit and said he understands that the accused priest, Lorenzo Ruiz, has been defrocked, meaning he no longer performs priestly duties.

The original suit, filed for an Albuquerque woman identified only as "D.A.," named as defendants the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Ruiz and an organization called The Franciscan Brothers Charity Inc.

The Franciscan Brothers Charity Inc. has been removed as a defendant in the amended suit.

A caller to the Journal who had been affiliated with the charity said May 5 it "had absolutely nothing to do with this," meaning the allegations in the suit.

The caller said the charity left New Mexico in the 1980s and was disbanded in California in 1989.

New defendants in the amended version are the Province of St. John the Baptist of the Order of Friars Minor, an Ohio corporation; the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Order of Friars Minor, an outside organization operating in New Mexico; and the Archdiocese of Denver.

Alarid, co-counsel with Thomas Tabet, explained that Ruiz was with the Ohio order working in Albuquerque when he allegedly started the girls club and then was with the Guadalupe order, in both cases under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Alarid said Ruiz then was transferred to Denver, where he has been for the past year or two.

Both the original and new versions of the lawsuit say plaintiff D.A. met Ruiz, a parish priest with Holy Family Church, when she was a 10-year-old sixth-grader. She said he recruited her for the girls club, a group of about 15-20 girls.

"Ruiz utilized the girls club as a medium for screening young girls, including the plaintiff, for the purpose of serving his own deviant needs and performing sexual acts, in other words sexually molesting young girls," the suit alleges.

It says Ruiz took the girls on outings, gave them money, bought them presents — including lingerie — and conditioned them to accept contact ranging from hugs to sexual intercourse.

The suit also alleges Ruiz introduced the girls to alcohol and illegal drugs.

It alleges civil wrongs against the defendants, including negligence in different forms.

 
 

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