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Scores of Sexual Abuse Survivors Come Forward in Response to Santa Fe Archdiocese’s Request for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. Bryan Smith

May 8, 2019

Only a few months after the Santa Fe Archdiocese sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for 36 pending claims of clergy sexual abuse, attorneys representing sex abuse survivors report a flood of abuse survivors coming forward with claims of clergy sexual abuse.

According to Sam Fadduol, an Albuquerque attorney, over 100 people have contacted him and his partners to report instances of clergy sexual abuse since February. Over 70 sexual abuse survivors have indicated that they would like Fadduol and his partners to pursue claims against the Santa Fe Archdiocese. “Based on the number of calls that we have received, it is clear that the clergy sexual abuse crisis in New Mexico was wide-spread and much more severe than we had previously known,” said Fadduol. According to Fadduol, “Although we have received a significant response from abuse survivors seeking justice, we have no doubt there are many more that have not yet come forward – this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Fadduol expresses concern that so many victims have yet to come forward while the bankruptcy court has set a deadline to file claims against the Santa Fe Archdiocese on or before June 17, 2019. Fadduol stated “My primary concern is that so many victims, both men and women, have been shamed into silence for decades. Under the present circumstances, if the victims do not come forward before June 17, 2019, their claims may be forever lost. It is important for the victims to know that their claims would be filed under seal and that they may pursue their claims confidentially.” The bankruptcy court has ordered that abuse survivors can file claims confidentially under seal if they wish to pursue a claim in the bankruptcy process.

Fadduol is partnered with three other law firms who have collectively represented hundreds of sexual abuse survivors in other religious order bankruptcies. The bankruptcies have resulted in settlements of over $250 million. In addition to the monetary recoveries, these settlements have also resulted in non-monetary settlement terms designed to prevent future abuse of children and assist abuse survivors in finding closure.

While Fadduol’s team has handled multiple diocesan bankruptcies throughout the country, what makes this one unique is the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s connection to the Servants of the Paraclete, a “treatment” facility for pedophile priests in Jemez, which existed for decades in a cloak of secrecy. It is believed that since the Paraclete facility opening in the 1940s and through its operation into the 1990s, hundreds, if not thousands, of pedophile priests were cycled through the facility in Jemez. Subsequently, the pedophile priests were set loose in the surrounding communities and region, only to re-offend. New Mexico, particularly Northern New Mexico, is now dealing with the consequences of such acts.

Fadduol’s team represents many victims of Arthur Perrault, who in April was found guilty of federal child sexual abuse charges. Records show that Perrault was sent to the Servants of the Paraclete in 1965 after he was accused of molesting young boys while serving as a priest in Connecticut.

The abuse survivors that have come forward so far report claims of abuse occurring throughout the Archdiocese.  Such locations include the St. Catherine’s Indian School; Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas; and the Hacienda de los Muchachos, a now closed boys home in Farley.

In conclusion, Fadduol states that for those who have come forward to file claims, he has sensed feelings of relief and vindication. The bankruptcy stands as a symbol that it was the pedophile priests who were the wrongdoers and not their innocent child victims. Fadduol believes that the filling of a claim is, for many, the first and a significant step at achieving closure.

The abuse survivors that have come forward so far report claims of abuse occurring throughout the Archdiocese.  Such locations include the St. Catherine’s Indian School; Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas; and the Hacienda de los Muchachos, a now closed boys home in Farley.

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