January 27, 2006

Marianists respond to sexual abuse lawsuits

The Pueblo Chieftain

A religious order that is the subject of numerous lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of teenage boys by a former brother has responded to three suits by denying responsibility, according to court records made public on Thursday.

To date, 13 suits have been filed against the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo and the Marianists Province of the United States by former students at Roncalli High School, where Brother William Mueller taught religion and music from 1965 to 1971, when the school closed. The former students allege that Mueller subdued them with ether and sexually molested them.

None of the suits name Mueller as a defendant. He voluntarily left the Marianist order in 1986 after attending a treatment center in New Mexico for what Marianist leaders have called "bizarre behavior." Mueller now lives in San Antonio. Lawsuits containing similar allegations to those filed here have been filed in Missouri, where Mueller also taught.

Another suit names only the diocese as a defendant. It was brought by a former altar boy at St. Pius X Catholic Church who accused former priest Andrew Burke of molesting him in the early 1970s. Burke committed suicide in September.

Posted by kshaw at January 27, 2006 08:15 AM