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Gallup Diocese named in new Arizona sex-abuse lawsuit

Gallup Diocese named in new Arizona sex-abuse lawsuit

Associated Press/December 12, 2012

Gallup, New Mexico - An Arizona man says he was sexually abused as a minor by two Gallup Diocese priests in the 1970s, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

The Gallup Independent reported that the man, identified as John "G.H." Doe of Navajo County, claims in the lawsuit that he was abused while serving as an altar boy in Winslow.

Phoenix attorney Robert Pastor filed the lawsuit in Arizona's Coconino County Superior Court and names in the lawsuit the late Rev. Clement Hageman, another priest, the Diocese of Gallup and Madre de Dios Church in Winslow.

"To cope with the trauma of sexual abuse, John G.H. Doe involuntarily and unconsciously blocked the memories of sexual abuse from his mind," the complaint says.

"In or about February 2011, John G.H. Doe began to discover memories of clergy sexual abuse."

A Gallup Diocese spokesman, the Rev. Tim Farrell, said that Bishop James Wall has not seen the lawsuit and does not know anything about the episodes alleged in the lawsuit that are described in the Gallup Independent.

"We don't know what they're talking about," Farrell said. "We'd be more than happy to help, but the (new allegations) are all new to us."

Pastor said he is transferring to a new law firm and hadn't served the diocese yet. Under Arizona law, Pastor said, he has until Jan. 20 to serve notice on the diocese.

This is the second clergy sex-abuse lawsuit Pastor has filed against the Gallup Diocese.

The first case was filed in 2010 in Coconino County Superior Court on behalf of another Arizona man who claims he was sexually abused by Hageman while serving as an altar boy at Holbrook's Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. That case is still pending.

Pastor said nine others have settled with the Gallup Diocese over sex-abuse claims involving Hageman.

The diocese released Hageman's name as a credibly accused pedophile priest in 2005. During a healing Mass for victims, the late Bishop Donald Pelotte called Hageman one of the "most abusive priests in the diocese."

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