Lawsuit Accuses Former Santa Cruz Priest of Raping Boy in ’80s

By Andrew Oxford
Santa Fe New Mexican
October 25, 2018

A former student of Holy Cross Catholic School in Santa Cruz says in a new lawsuit that he was raped by a priest in the adjacent church during the 1980s.

The case is just the latest allegation that the Rev. Marvin Archuleta abused children in the area and comes as state Attorney General Hector Balderas investigates a history of sexual misconduct in New Mexico’s Roman Catholic dioceses, where predators were shuffled for decades.

The lawsuit by an unnamed John Doe, now 38, says Archuleta and another priest summoned him and other children from class to the church, ostensibly to talk with them about becoming altar boys. At one point, the other priest ushered children out of the room, leaving the boy with Archuleta, according to the lawsuit. The suit says Archuleta proceeded to rape the elementary school student.

The plaintiff never told anyone about the episode but grew addicted to alcohol and other drugs, the lawsuit says.

According to the court filing, it was only when in therapy following an overdose that Doe told anyone about the episode.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe named Archuleta in a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct, listing him as working at Holy Cross in Santa Cruz up to 1978.

Allegations against him appear to have first emerged publicly in the 1990s when a lawsuit charged that he invited an altar boy, 14, on a cross-country trip to Washington, D.C. during 1971 and fondled the child. That case ended with a settlement.

In 2002, ABC News found Archuleta working at a church in Mexico City.

The latest lawsuit, filed by Santa Fe lawyer Merit Bennett, names Archuleta and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe among other organizations. The suit includes 25 counts, including rape and negligence. It also includes one claim of racketeering — an appeal for the state to institute organizational changes within the church.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said it has a policy against commenting on pending litigation.

“However, the archdiocese continues to be vigilant regarding sexual misconduct and stands firm on its zero tolerance policy,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “We pray for all who have been victims of the sad reality of sexual abuse.”








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