Former Students Say Catholic School Teacher Drugged, Abused Them
Diocese of Pueblo Named in Suit from Former Roncalli High Students

ABC Channel 7 [Denver CO]
September 14, 2005

DENVER -- Two men accused their former Catholic high school teacher Wednesday of drugging them with ether and then sexually assaulting them nearly 40 years ago when they were students in Pueblo.

The men claim the Roncalli High School music teacher, who was a member of the Marianists religious order, told them he was conducting experiments on sleep, according to a copy of two lawsuits provided by their attorney, Jeffrey M. Herman.

The two men each seek more than $10 million in damages from the Marianists and the Diocese of Pueblo, alleging both failed to protect the students and "actively took steps to conceal the abuse in order to protect" the teacher.

The lawsuit identifies the teacher as William Mueller, but he is not named as a defendant. Mueller, reached at his home in San Antonio, Texas, said he was not aware of the lawsuit and hung up without further comment.

Herman said the lawsuits would be filed in Pueblo County District Court. Court officials could not immediately confirm they were filed.

Diocese chancellor Monsignor Mark Plewka said diocese officials had not seen the lawsuits and could not comment. Messages left for the St. Louis-based Marianists were not immediately returned.

The alleged assaults took place in 1968 on a 15-year-old and in 1969 on a 17-year old, the lawsuits say. The men were identified only as J.M. of Albuquerque, N.M., and T.A. of Danville, Calif.

Roncalli was an all-boys high school owned by the diocese and staffed by the Marianists. The high school no longer operates.