Woman Sues St. Michael's, Claims Sexual Abuse

By Susanne Burks
Albuquerque Journal
July 1, 1995

ALBUQUERQUE — An Albuquerque woman has sued the owners-operators of St. Michael's High School in Santa Fe for damages, alleging that a staff member abused her while she was a student there in the 1970s.

The suit by Mary Margaret McGuire alleges that a Brother Abdon, now dead, a teacher, cheerleader director and counselor, "performed non-consensual sex acts on (her), thereby abusing her sexually, physically, emotionally and spiritually, continually over a three-year period as many as two to five times per week."

McGuire attended the Roman Catholic school in the school years of 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77, when she was 13, 14 and 15 years old, the suit says.

Albuquerque lawyer Miguel Campos, who filed the suit for McGuire, said he didn't know if his client was a cheerleader but "she was involved in a cheerleader group ... that was part of the contact."

Filed Wednesday in state District Court in Albuquerque, the suit names as defendants Christian Brothers Major Superiors of New Mexico, identified as owning, operating and controlling St. Michael's; and NOSF Inc. of Lafayette La., identified as "in charge and control of schools within its area of jurisdiction."

Also named is the estate of Brother Abdon.

Although the suit is the first alleging abuse at St. Michael's in the Albuquerque court, two brothers who attended the school filed similar suits in May in state District Court in Santa Fe.

The Journal was unable to locate the Louisiana defendant for comment and received conflicting information from a Catholic order in Santa Fe listed by the telephone company as Christian Brothers.

One person who answered the phone there Thursday said the order has no connection with the high school. Another said in a second Journal call that the name is "St. Michael's Christian Brothers" and confirmed it is connected with the high school.

A third person responded Friday when a lawsuit was mentioned, "The administration of the province and legal counsel handles that and I have no comment. Thank you very much. Goodbye."

He hung up on a reporter, refusing to answer a question as to where the administration and legal counsel could be reached.

McGuire alleges in the suit that the defendants knew of Abdon's abuse but failed to take action to stop it, failed to provide help to her and directed or participated in a coverup of Abdon's activities.


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