Santa Fe archdiocese faces defamation lawsuit

Santa Fe New Mexican

March 23, 2018

By Phaedra Haywood

A Santa Fe man is accusing the Archdiocese of Santa Fe of defamation, claiming in a new lawsuit that the Catholic organization wrongly included his name on a list of 74 priests, deacons and brothers who have been convicted or credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct over the last few decades.

Rudy Blea says in his complaint, filed this week in the state District Court in Santa Fe, that the list issued last fall identifies him as a member of the Benedictine Order — “by implication” announcing to the world that he was a “Benedictine priest who was a child molester.”

The list, released at the urging of sexual abuse survivors who had long demanded accountability from the Catholic Church, actually refers to Blea as a brother of the Benedictines, which would mean he was a monk rather than a priest.

But Blea says in his complaint that he was never a “brother, monk, deacon, or priest” in any Catholic order.

Court records show Blea was identified as a monk from the Pecos Benedictine Monastery in a 1994 civil suit accusing him of molesting a minor in 1969 or 1970 at a religious event. The suit also named the archdiocese, a bishop and the Benedictine monks as defendants.

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