January 14, 2006

13th lawsuit filed against Pueblo Diocese alleging abuse

Pueblo Chieftain

A 13th lawsuit has been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo over allegations of sexual abuse by clergy decades ago, according to court records released Friday.

The latest suit is the 12th filed since September alleging that former Marianist Brother William Mueller used ether to render a Roncalli High School student helpless, then molested him. The Society of Mary religious order also is named as a defendant in the suit.

Similar allegations against Mueller have been made in Texas and Missouri. Mueller left the Marianist order voluntarily in 1986 after receiving treatment in New Mexico for "bizarre behavior," according to a Marianist spokesman. Mueller now resides in San Antonio. Mueller is not named as a defendant in the suits. Another suit filed against the diocese in November alleges that former priest Andrew Burke molested an altar boy at St. Pius X church in the early 1970s. Burke committed suicide in September, when the allegations against him were about to be published by news organizations.

The diocese recently denied a request by The Pueblo Chieftain to inspect its records on Roncalli and the clergy accused of abuse. In a written response, Bishop Arthur Tafoya cited personnel privacy policies.

Posted by kshaw at January 14, 2006 08:10 AM