Lawsuit Over Former El Paso Priest Abuse Settled

A lawsuit over a former El Paso priest who was accused of sexually molesting an altar boy and student in the 1970s was settled on July 11th.

It was alleged that the plaintiff, referred to as John Doe, was 8 to 12 years old when Father Alphonso Madrid sexually abused him while attending Sacred Heart Church and school.

According to the lawsuit filed in 2011, the victim suffered serious psychological problems due to the alleged abuse.  Not unlike many victims of sexual abuse, the Plaintiff had repressed the memory of his abuse for many years due to the trauma associated with the abuse.

It was alleged that church officials were aware that Madrid was a sexual predator who targeted children, and instead of removing him from positions of trust and reporting him to the police, they covered the incidents up, transferring him around.

Madrid, a Jesuit priest, who has passed away, worked at Sacred Heart in South El Paso from 1970 to 1982. He worked at Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Archdiocese of San Antonio from 1966 to 1970.

Before Madrid’s death in 1982, he was assigned to San Felipe Church in Albuquerque.

The lawsuit on behalf of John Doe was filed in El Paso District Court in the 327th Court against the El Paso Catholic Diocese and the Jesuits of the New Orleans Province.

Regarding the lawsuit, back then, the Rev. Anthony Celino said, “The diocese (did) not receive any complaint of this nature against him before.”

Court records allege that Madrid persuaded John Doe’s family to let him mentor the boy at the time.

John Doe, who was 49-years-old when the suit was filed, was in the third grade when he became an altar boy for Madrid, who allegedly sexually molested him on various occasions.

The abuse occurred in the church, in vehicles, and in John Doe’s home.

Madrid, who was ordained in 1950, worked in the El Paso Diocese for more than 25 years. According to court documents, he was assigned as a priest at El Paso’s St. Ignatius High in 1955, and again at the school for a short time in 1966.

He returned to El Paso in 1970 and was assigned to Sacred Heart Church and school as an assistant pastor.

“(Madrid) sexually abused John Doe, an altar boy, a student at Sacred Heart, and a parishioner, for a period of approximately five years, beginning when Doe was 8 years old,” the lawsuit alleges.

“Beginning well before the molestation of Doe, however, Madrid demonstrated clear signs of mental problems, including ‘illusions,’ ‘hallucinations,’ problems with alcohol and sexually acting out with a 9-year-old boy in the San Antonio Archdiocese,” the lawsuit alleged. “Despite these red flags, he was assigned by his Jesuit superiors and accepted by diocesan bishops to work in parishes and schools in Mexico, New Orleans, Albuquerque, San Antonio and El Paso.”

His strange behaviors were documented by church officials in records provided to John Doe’s lawyers.

“Documents produced by the Jesuits in this case show that by 1960 Madrid was requesting a transfer to New Orleans from a Jesuit high school in Mexico because of the perceived hatred directed at him there,” according to the lawsuit.

No one at the El Paso Catholic Diocese was available to comment on the settlement. The terms were undisclosed.

For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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