Another Accuser Files Lawsuit against Diocese

By Patrick Malone
Pueblo Chieftain
February 1, 2007

Another lawsuit has been filed in district court alleging sexual abuse by a former Roncalli High School teacher, according to court records made public on Wednesday.

Lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and the Marianist religious order over alleged sexual abuse by former Brother William Mueller now number 22. Settlement negotiations in the previous suits reportedly have reached a stalemate.

The latest suit was filed by a plaintiff identified in court records as "John Doe No. 18," a 52-year-old man who now lives in Arapahoe County.

The suit alleges that Mueller convinced the student to participate in an experiment while the boy was a sophomore. He attended the school until it closed in 1971.

After a junior varsity basketball game, Mueller allegedly led the student to the school's band room, where the boy sat in a chair. Mueller allegedly placed a cloth soaked in ether over the boy's mouth and nose, making him unconscious.

While the boy was out, Mueller allegedly sexually abused him. When the boy awoke and tried to pull up his pants, Mueller allegedly applied more ether and rendered him unconscious.

The suit alleges that the diocese and the Marianists were aware that Mueller posed a threat, and therefore were negligent in allowing him access to children.

Adam Horowitz of the Miami law firm Herman & Mermelstein, which filed the latest suit and represents each of Mueller's accusers in Pueblo, said the firm has been in contact with numerous Roncalli students. Many of them reportedly recall abuse, or are willing to testify in the suits brought by their former classmates.

Horowitz said more suits alleging abuse by Mueller may be forthcoming. Similar allegations against Mueller have been raised in Missouri and Texas.

Horowitz said settlement negotiations with the diocese and the Marianist order have stalled.

"We did attempt to mediate with both defendants," Horowitz said. "No cases have been settled to date. There are no ongoing talks right now."


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