Sexually Molested Boy Sues Hospital

United Press International [Boise, Idaho]
March 23, 1985

The parents of a teenage boy sexually molested by a priest have filed suit against the church-operated hospital where the priest worked, claiming hospital officials knew of the chaplain's sexual deviancy.

The suit, filed this week in the 4th District Court on behalf of the youth, asked for $6 million in damages from the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, where the priest, the Rev. Mel Baltazar, worked as a chaplain.

Baltazar, 49, pleaded guilty to molesting the boy and was sentenced in January to a seven-year prison term.

The suit, filed by the boy's stepfather and mother, claims church and hospital officials were aware of Baltazar's 20-year history of sexual abuse yet allowed him to continue working with patients in the hospital's psychiatric ward.

The complaint alleged Baltazar met the teenager when the youth was placed in the hospital's psychiatric ward for two weeks in December 1983.

The boy, who was 15 at time of the assaults in February and March 1984, has been identified as "John Doe Son" in the civil lawsuit.

The parents, failing to suspect any wrongdoing, allowed the boy to pursue a friendship with the priest after his release from the hospital.

Baltazar brought the youth to his home, where he used liquor, drugs and pornography to lure the teenager into sexual acts, the parents alleged.

During Baltazar's trial investigators said the priest had a 20-year record of sexual relations with boys.

When Judge Alan Schwartzman sentenced Baltazar to a prison term, he said the priest victimized the "weak, vulnerable and psychotic."

"I think the Catholic Church has its atonement to make as well,"

Schwartzman said. "They helped create you, and hopefully they will help to rehabilitate you."


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