Headline: Catholic Orders Settle Abuse Suits

Santa Fe New Mexican
January 11, 1996

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the Servants of the Paraclete and another Catholic order that operated in New Mexico have settled the claims of six men and women who allege they were sexually abused by priests from those orders, Santa Fe attorney Merritt Bennett said Tuesday.

Settlements in the suits were reached late last month, but the terms of the settlements are confidential and cannot be released, Bennett said.

The abuse alleged in the suits occurred from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, Bennett said.

In one suit, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe settled with a former seminary student at the Immaculate heart of Mary Seminary in Santa Fe.

There, the man says, he was abused by Earl Bierman, a former priest who came to Santa Fe from the Archdiocese of Covington, Ky.

"Bierman had molested numerous children there," Bennett said. "He's now serving time in prison for sexual abuse in Kentucky."

In that case, claims are still pending against the Archdiocese of Covington, but the case will be heard in New Mexico.

In another suit, Bennett said the Sons of the Holy Family Order of Silver Spring, Md. settled claims by three women and a man from Santa Cruz.

Bennett said the victims were molested by former priests Marvin Archuleta, Louis Martinez and Frank Sierra from the Sons of the Holy Family Order while they served at the Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz.

In that suit, all the claims against the Sons of the Holy Family Order were settled, as were two claims against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

The other suit settled involved a man who said he was sexually abused by Jason Sigler of the Servants of the Paraclete while serving at the Abiqui parish.

In that case, a claim against the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is still pending.


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