Amarillo Diocese Settles Second Suit Involving Former Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
November 29, 2004

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Amarillo and an unidentified Panhandle woman have settled a lawsuit that claimed a former priest harmed her through wrongful conduct.

The suit filed last year by Jane Doe named former priest Rosendo Herrera, Bishop John W. Yanta and former Bishop Leroy Matthiessen.

It was the diocese's second lawsuit settlement in two years involving Herrera.

William Wade, an attorney representing the diocese, declined to comment on the settlement on Monday, which was approved by a judge two weeks ago.

Attempts by The Associated Press to locate Herrera on Monday were unsuccessful.

The woman's attorney, J.E. Sauseda, said the diocese and Herrera admitted no wrongdoing under the settlement, which Sauseda said was for "around $50,000."

The suit claimed that at various times Herrera committed acts that were injurious, mentally and physically, to the plaintiff, a resident of Gray County, and that he engaged in wrongful conduct while employed by the Catholic Church.

The woman sought damages for personal injuries, mental anguish and past, present and future psychological pain and suffering. The diocese and Herrera had denied the suit's claims.

In February 2003, the diocese settled a lawsuit involving Herrera that claimed he fathered a child with a 17-year-old and that diocesan officials conspired to cover up sexual abuse.

The diocese had denied that suit's claims in court documents.

Under the settlement, the diocese agreed to buy $27,150 in annuities that will be paid to the child who allegedly was fathered by Herrera.

Herrera was placed on administrative leave in December 2000 and granted lay status in March 2001. But he continued to serve as spiritual adviser to the family until September 2001, when the girl's parents discovered she was pregnant, according to the diocese.

The suit alleged that Herrera had a history of sexual abuse in Mexico before being ordained by the Amarillo diocese in 1996. He was pastor in Dalhart, Pampa and Amarillo.


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