Gray County Woman Sues Diocese of Amarillo

By Jim McBride
Amarillo Globe
October 17, 2003

An unnamed Gray County woman is suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo, alleging a former priest engaged in unspecified wrongful conduct that harmed her.

The suit, filed Wednesday in a Potter County court, names former priest Rosendo Herrera, Bishop John W. Yanta, former Bishop Leroy Matthiesen and the diocese as defendants.

The suit claims that on various times Herrera was guilty of acts that were injurious, mentally and physically, to the plaintiff and that he engaged in wrongful conduct while employed by the Catholic Church.

The suit also alleges that the diocese, Yanta and Matthiesen were negligent in the performance of their administrative duties, which allowed the events to take place and resulted in injuries to the plaintiff.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, is suing for personal injuries, past, present and future psychological pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

On Thursday, the Globe-News was unable to reach Fred Griffin, attorney for the diocese, or Herrera for comment.

This year, the diocese settled another suit involving Herrera alleging he fathered a child with a teen-age girl and that diocesan officials conspired to cover up sexual abuse within the diocese.

The settlement released the diocese, Yanta and Matthiesen from all past, present or future claims arising out of the suit. Under the settlement, the diocese agreed to purchase $27,150 in annuities that will be paid to the girl the suit alleges was fathered by Herrera.

In September, the diocese announced that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown, Pa., and the Amarillo diocese reached a $275,000 settlement over allegations of sexual misconduct by another former priest against a Briscoe County boy.


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