St. Michael’s High School sued over alleged abuse decades ago

Albuquerque Journal [Albuquerque NM]

April 19, 2021

By Kyle Land

Seven men filed a lawsuit last week against St. Michael’s High School in Santa Fe, alleging school officials failed to prevent three staff members – all Christian Brothers – from sexually abusing them while they were students decades ago.

The lawsuit filed in 1st Judicial District Court alleges Brothers Andrew Abdon, Louis Brousseau and Tom McConnell abused students while working for the school as teachers and athletics coaches between 1953 and 1980. All three had already been listed on the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s credibly accused list.

The suit also names the school’s parent organization, Brothers of the Christian Schools, as a defendant in the case. Attorney Bill Keeler, who is representing the victims, said that’s because the Brothers supplied the teachers who abused students to the school.

“While these men have each filed a claim in the Archdiocese bankruptcy, the Christian Brothers must also be held accountable for allowing this abuse to go on for year after year at St. Michael’s,” Keeler said in a written statement.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2018 in the wake of dozens of lawsuits filed by victims of alleged abuse at the hands of Catholic priests.

The men are seeking compensation for what they say was negligence on the part of school that allowed students to be abused for years.

Some of the alleged sexual abuse took place in locker rooms and at restaurants. One incident describes Abdon spanking a student in front of classmates as a form of discipline.

“Defendants knew or should have known that Brothers were abusing Plaintiffs and others, yet failed to do anything,” the lawsuit states.

Alleged abuse by the three brothers named in the lawsuit spanned decades, according to the lawsuit. Previous Journal articles show multiple lawsuits were filed against them in 1995.

Gerald Coppler, attorney for St. Michael’s, said he had not seen the lawsuit and that the school would not comment on pending litigation.