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Arizona man files abuse claim vs. NM diocese

GALLUP, N.M. -- The Diocese of Gallup has been named in another clergy sex abuse lawsuit.

The Gallup Independent reported that the lawsuit was recently filed in Arizona's Coconino County Superior Court on behalf of a man identified as John "G.H." Doe of Navajo County, who said he was sexually abused as a minor by two Gallup Diocese priests in the 1970s. The lawsuit said the man claims he was abused as an altar boy in Winslow, Ariz.

Diocese of Gallup spokesman Rev. Tim Farrell told The Associated Press that Bishop James S. 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.

Phoenix attorney Robert E. Pastor filed the lawsuit in Arizona's Coconino County Superior Court and names in the lawsuit the late Rev. Clement A. 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."

Diocese of Gallup spokesman Rev. Tim Farrell told The Associated Press that Bishop James S. 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," said Farrell. "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 Diocese of Gallup over sexual abuse claims involving Hageman.

The Diocese of Gallup 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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