SF man accused of abuse sues archdiocese

Albuquerque Journal

March 22, 2018

By Mark Oswald

A Santa Fe man says he was defamed when the Archdiocese of Santa Fe last year published the names of 74 men it said were Catholic clergy who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children in New Mexico.

Rudy Blea, in a state court lawsuit, says he has never been a member of the clergy and that Archbishop John C. Wester and other church officials have refused to correct the archdiocese’s September news release, which came after years of complaints by victims over a lack of transparency about the history of sexual abuse by priests in the state.

Blea says that in the archdiocese’s list of accused abusers, he was wrongly identified as a member of the Benedictine Order.

“By implication,” the lawsuit states, the archdiocese “announced to the world” that Blea “was a Benedictine priest who was a child molester.” The archdiocese list actually identified Blea as “Br. Rudy Blea” of the Benedictines, meaning as a “brother” or monk.

Blea says in the new lawsuit that he has never been a member of the Benedictine order or “employed by them or lived in residence with them at any time during his life,” nor has he ever been “a brother, monk, deacon or priest in any diocese of the Catholic church.”

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