Lawsuit Alleges Abuse By Former NM Parish Priest

Apr 3, 2013

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is being sued over sex abuse allegations stemming from the 1980s at a parish in northern New Mexico.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in state district court on behalf of a 37-year-old man identified as "John Doe." It seeks unspecified damages from the archdiocese and St. Anthony parish in Questa.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff's parents wanted him to be an altar boy. When he did, the now-deceased Rev. Michael O'Brien allegedly groomed him with what he called "massage time." That escalated into sexual abuse.

When the man came forward last year, the archdiocese allegedly told him it would pay for counseling as long as he didn't take legal action.

Church officials say they have had a zero tolerance policy for over 20 years and declined to comment on the pending litigation.