Pueblo Diocese slapped with another suit | SummitDaily.com

Pueblo Diocese slapped with another suit

PUEBLO ” Another lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pueblo was announced today accusing a former Catholic high school teacher of sexually assaulting a former student, the plaintiff’s lawyer said.

Attorney Jeffrey Herman announced the lawsuit in Pueblo a day after three other clients filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Denver. Those suits alleged two former priests sexually abused three men starting in the 1960s, and that the archdiocese continued allowing the priests to practice though it knew of abuse allegations.

The lawsuit announced today was by a plaintiff whose name Herman did not release and listed allegations against William Mueller, former band director at the now-closed Roncalli High School. Mueller was not named as a defendant.

The suit said Mueller told the plaintiff during private tutoring sessions in the school band room that the student would play trombone better in the nude. The suit alleges the student was assaulted five times.

The plaintiff told a guidance counselor in 1968, Herman said. Mueller left Roncalli in 1971.

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The lawsuit, like the ones filed in Denver on Tuesday, seeks at least $10 million in damages.

The Marianists Provice of the United States also was listed as a defendant in the suit because Mueller was a member of that religious order.

The Marianists have said Mueller spent time at a treatment center and left the order in 1986. Details of his treatment were not available. The Pueblo Diocese office was closed midday Wednesday, and representatives did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Three men have now announced lawsuits in Pueblo with allegations against Mueller.

On Tuesday, a lawsuit listing allegations against Mueller was announced in St. Louis. A 35-year-old man alleged Mueller sexually assaulted him at knifepoint when the man was a high school sophomore.

Meanwhile nine lawsuits have been filed against the Archdiocese of Denver by people alleging they were assaulted by Harold Robert White, a former priest whom the archdiocese removed from public ministry in 1993. One suit names the late Rev. Leonard A. Abercrombie.

The archdiocese has declined to comment on the lawsuits.

In 1991, the Denver archdiocese developed an abuse policy requiring all allegations be reported immediately to law enforcement officials. Since 1950, it has paid $997,730 in counseling and settlement costs to those reporting allegations.

Dioceses across the country have been rocked over the past several years by allegations that they merely shuffled priests accused of sexual abuse among parishes to hide problems.

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