12th Lawsuit Filed against Brother in Pueblo Diocese

Jackson Hole Star-Tribune [Pueblo CO]
January 16, 2006

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pueblo is facing a 12th lawsuit claiming sexual abuse by a former Marianist brother, the Pueblo Chieftain reported Saturday.

Former Marianist Brother William Mueller is named in the latest suit, which alleges he used ether to render a Roncalli High School student helpless before molesting him. His order, the Society of Mary, is also named in the suit.

Mueller faces similar allegations in Missouri.

A spokesman for the order said Mueller, who now lives in San Antonio, left the order voluntarily in 1986 after being treated for "bizarre behavior."

The Chieftain requested and was denied permission to inspect records at Roncalli, which closed in 1971. Bishop Arthur Tafoya denied the request, saying it would violate personnel privacy policies.

Mueller also is accused in St. Louis of trying to subdue a student with ether, then using a knife to intimidate him while trying to molest him.

Mueller's accuser in the Pueblo lawsuit is identified in court documents only as John Doe No. 8, a 49-year-old man who lives in Pueblo, and attended Roncalli during the 1970-71 school year as a 14-year-old freshman enrolled in religion and music classes taught by Mueller.

Mueller is accused of holding a rag soaked in ether over the boy's face and molesting him as he lost consciousness. Mueller allegedly also held a knife to his throat, and when the boy awoke warned him not to tell anyone.

The Miami, Fla., law firm of Herman & Mermelstein, which also filed each of the earlier suits, filed the latest. It seeks an unspecified damages exceeding $100,000.

The Diocese of Pueblo faces at least 13 lawsuits overall, including one accusing former priest Andrew Burke of molesting an altar boy at St. Pius X church in the early 1970s. Burke committed suicide in September.


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