Lawsuit alleges St. Anthony Home for Boys was rife with abuse

Albuquerque Journal

August 6, 2020

By Colleen Heild

An estimated 6,000 children passed through the doors of the St. Anthony Home for Boys in Albuquerque during its 68 years of operation.

When Roy Rogers and Dale Evans played the New Mexico State Fair, they visited the home and let the children sit atop Trigger.

U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy was running for president in 1968 when he stopped and ate lunch with the students at the orphanage – the state’s first for boys. Heavyweight boxer Sonny Liston paid a visit to spar with them and tell his story, states an online survey of the historic school from the National Park Service.

The religious order of nuns that ran the orphanage describes St. Anthony’s as a lifeline for boys, where they learned to care for livestock, grow vegetables, and where prayer, sacraments and spiritual life were central to their daily lives.

But a lawsuit filed in state District Court this week paints a much darker picture, one where children whose parents were dead or couldn’t care for them were tormented and sexually abused by nuns and priests.

Beginning in the late 1950s, one boy who lived there tried to escape, only to be caught, deemed a runaway and brought back by police, according to the lawsuit filed against the Sisters of St. Francis, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, which ran the school.

The boy – now a man in his late 60s identified only as John Doe 167 – alleges that behind the walls of the orphanage, he was sexually abused beginning at age 6 by the chaplain, visiting priests and some of the nuns at the school who had “total and complete control of the lives of the children.”

He finally escaped for good at age 13, running away and convincing an aunt he couldn’t return.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.