John Doe ’79' files suit vs. archdiocese

By Jason Brooks
Las Vegas Optic
June 24, 2018

The Catholic priest abuse set of civil suits that has involved Our Lady of Sorrows Church and many other Archdiocese of Santa Fe locations recently grew by one more plaintiff, though the abuse is alleged at a Bernalillo County site.

“John Doe 79” filed suit May 21 in the Second District Court in Bernalillo County against both the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Parish Catholic Church of Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus.

The suit alleges abuse against a male victim, who was born in 1956 and currently lives in Albuquerque, was committed by the late Father Ron Roth when the male victim was age 14.

According to the suit, filed by New Mexico attorney Brad Hall, the abuse by the Defendants’ Priest occurred in the spring of 1971. In the spring of 2018, the victim, now in his early 60s, obtained professional help for the first time as a result of a delayed psychological reaction to the childhood sexual abuse he suffered.

The suit states the victim is “only now realizing and connecting the harm caused to him by the actions of defendants (the parish and the archdiocese) in sheltering and housing the defendants’ priest such that he was able to have access to plaintiff and sexually abuse him.”

Chronologically, Roth was among the priests to be accused of sexual abuse long before Sabine Griego, Jason Sigler and Michael O’Brien, George Weisenborn and others who served at Our Lady of Sorrows and other northern New Mexico parishes were accused publicly of abuse.

Griego has been personally named in a tort claimed filed in May by six men and one woman, marking a departure from the pattern established within the past decade of naming the archdiocese and/or a parish as defendants.

A 1983 lawsuit accused Roth, who had since gone to Illinois, sodomized three boys and a girl while pastor of Tucumcari's St. Anne's church and Albuquerque's St. Therese's church.

Roth was not available for comment at that time, according to USA Today archives, though he was removed as a priest in Illinois when the charges surfaced.

The suit claims damages, although a specific amount is not mentioned.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.