Lawsuit against St. Edward School alleges former priest raped boy in 1970s
By Michael Smith
February 13, 2019
|Memorial for victims of sexual abuse sits in a garden at the Church of St. Joseph's in the Mendhams. February 13, 2019.|
Photo by William Westhoven
|Sex abuse priests|
|Rev. Michael Fugee peers over to the jury box filled with media during his first appearance before Judge Patrick Roma on charges that he broke an agreement with law enforcement to never work with children.|
Photo by Amy Newman
A lawsuit filed in New Mexico's Fifth Judicial District Court Monday alleged a priest sexually abused a 7-year-old boy more than 40 years ago while the clergyman was assigned to St. Edward School in Carlsbad.
The boy, listed in the lawsuit as John Doe, was allegedly raped by Kerry Guillory, per the suit, on the campus of the school on multiple occasions.
Between 1972 and 1974, the 7-years-old boy was allegedly sexually assault by Guillory.
“The suit was prompted by our client struggling through the failure of what scientists call ‘child coping skills.’ When really bad things happen to children, especially (by a person) in a position of trust and authority over the child, they survive by utilizing whatever coping mechanisms work to block out bad things,” said Albuquerque attorney Brad Hall, who filed the lawsuit.
Defendants in the case are the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Conventual Franciscan Friars, Province of Our Lady of Consolation, Inc., St. Edward Parish, Inc. and St. Edward School, Inc., read the complaint.
“We have no comment on pending litigation,” said Fernie Ceniceros, interim communications director for the El Paso Catholic Diocese.
St. Edward Parish and School are now part of the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese said Don Jim Winder, vice chancellor.
“We heard about the lawsuit, but haven’t seen anything specific,” Winder said.
Three other lawsuits alleging abuse by Guillory were filed in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Winder said.
Those suits were filed against the Diocese of El Paso, because St. Edward School and Parish were a part of that Diocese until the creation of the Diocese of Las Cruces. The Dioces of Las Cruces gained managed of the school in 1982.
Winder said the Diocese of Las Cruces is not named in the current lawsuit because it didn’t exist in the 1970s.
The lawsuit lists Guillory as a religious brother who left St. Edward Parish in 1974.
Winder said Guillory’s name was published on Nov. 8, as one of 28 priests and religious leaders credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors.
“Our main motivation for publishing the list was to encourage people who may have been abused by one of the persons listed to come forward to seek justice,” he said. “I don’t know that this is the reason for this new lawsuit, but I do think that is important for any victim to receive justice.”
Winder said the Diocese of Las Cruces has “pledged itself to being transparent and accountable. Even though we were not in existence during Brother Guillory’s time in Carlsbad, we have to do our part to make things right.”
Hall said the case was a matter of protecting young churchgoers from trauma that could last a lifetime.
“Like in almost all priest abuse cases, the plaintiff came forward now because he is beginning to connect the dots between childhood rapes and otherwise inexplicable problems and issues,” Hall said.
“The motivation behind the lawsuit includes a genuine desire to protect kids out there by coming forward, and telling what happened and how harmful it is.”
Winder said the Diocese of Las Cruces encouraged those who have been victims of sexual abuse by clergy or church personnel to contact local authorities or Margarita Martinez, the victim assistance coordinator at 575-523-7577.
District Judge Raymond Romero was assigned the Guillory case, per court records.