Ep Diocese Pays $1.6 Million in Abuse Case Involving Ex-cathedral High Principal
January 20, 2012
The Catholic Diocese of El Paso has paid $1.6 million in a sexual abuse lawsuit involving two former Cathedral High School students.
Clark Harmonson, a partner with the T.O. Gilstrap law firm confirmed the payment to two men who were allegedly molested by then-Principal Samuel Martinez in 1978 and 1982.
Martinez was a member of a religious order called the Christian Brothers, whose mission is education and teaching, It operated Cathedral High School under contract from the Diocese.
Martinez was also accused of molestation by a boy in a New Orleans in 1971. The father of the child told the school that Martinez had molested his son. Harmonson said Martinez admitted to touching the boy and was transferred to Santa Fe for 100 days at a retreat operated by Christian Brothers. From there was sent to Cathedral in 1972. He became principal in 1976.
Harmonson said there were numerous complaints against Martinez when he was at Cathedral. Martinez left Cathedral in 1985 and the first complaint came in 1992.
The Diocese provided the following statement:
Cathedral High School was incorporated in 1993 under a non-profit designation: Cathedral High School, Inc.
The corporation Cathedral High School, Inc. has a sexual misconduct and safe environment policy. This includes background checks for all employees and those who work directly with students. They conduct sexual misconduct and safe-environment training for all employees and those who work directly with students.
They follow the reporting laws as provided in the Texas Civil Statute. Additionally, every year the school designates a day to discuss with all students, a student safety awareness with regards to sexual misconduct and manner of reporting to school authorities, should such things occur.
We are made aware by the Christian Brothers that Bro. Samuel Martinez is currently under their auspices in a retirement home outside of the El Paso Diocese. He does not function in any ministerial capacity.