Three Jesuit Priests Named in Abuse Lawsuits in Albuquerque
Three Jesuit priests in New Mexico have been named in newly filed lawsuits for clergy sexual abuse. One of them was still an active clergyman until this complaint was filed. We applaud the brave survivors who brought forth these claims and hope the news inspires other victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers to come forward to police and prosecutors.
All three cases allege abuse while the victims were parishioners at Immaculate Conception Church in Santa Fe and involve allegations ranging from 1968 up to 2011. In the latter case, the survivor claims that he was abused by Fr. Patrick Hough and that Jesuit officials knew the priest was interested in teenage boys. In the former case, the victim alleges that she was plied with alcohol and abused by two priests, Fr. Gerald Armstrong and the Fr. Alvin Pilie, beginning when she was in the first grade at a nearby school.
This is the first allegation made against Fr. Hough. Church officials have known of the claims against Fr. Armstrong and Fr. Pilie since at least 2009 when it was first reported but determined that the report was "not credible" through an internal investigation.
We call on Archbishop John C. Wester to open all his files related to these three men and turn them over to secular law enforcement in New Mexico. Religious orders and dioceses often split hairs over the responsibility for priests within diocesan borders, so we hope that the Archbishop will also share with the public any information related to allegations against these men, whether they were ever brought before his diocesan review board, and if so, what that review board decided and why.
We also hope that New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, who has been publicly supportive of investigations into clergy abuse, will look into bringing criminal charges against the one living priest, Fr. Hough, as well as those who supervised all three clerics.
These latest allegations mean that at least 81 clergy have been accused of abuse while working in Santa Fe, and according to SNAP’s independent research at least 307 Jesuits are now publicly accused of sexually abusing minors. Those men are alive and for the most part not monitored. This is a perfect example of why publishing lists of accused clerics is so important.
We hope this news will encourage others who may have been hurt by priests, nuns, brothers, deacons, or other church staff to come forward, make a report, and start healing.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)