Texas Diocese Reassigned “One of the Worst Abusive Priests” to Arizona Following Multiple Reports of Child Sexual Abuse
(Phoenix, AZ) – Today attorneys from the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Montoya, Lucero and Pastor PA filed two (2) child sexual abuse complaints under the Arizona Child Victims Act against the Diocese of Corpus Christi (TX). The lawsuits were filed on behalf of two courageous survivors of sexual abuse by Father Clement Hageman, a perpetrator described in the Diocese of Gallup’s bankruptcy filings as “one of the worst abusive priests ever to afflict the Diocese.” Fr. Hageman was sent to work in Diocese of Gallup parishes in both Arizona and New Mexico beginning in approximately 1940, after the Bishop of Corpus Christi determined Hageman was “too well known around [the Diocese]” for his prolific child sexual abuse.
“Father Clement Hageman’s file is proof positive of the corruption within the institutional Catholic Church. It is proof that Catholic Bishops protect pedophile priests and their reputations instead of vulnerable children,” said attorney Robert Pastor. “Catholic Bishops conspired to move Father Hageman to rural Arizona to cover-up Hageman’s history of sexual abuse, giving Hageman access to new pools of children. Like these two courageous survivors, it’s time for all survivors to speak up, speak out and hold the Catholic Church accountable for the systemic cover-up of pedophile priests.”
Both complaints were brought anonymously under the Arizona Child Victims Act. The complaint brought by John JB Doe reports that the plaintiff was approximately 11 years old when Fr. Hageman sexually abused him in approximately 1964, while the plaintiff was a parishioner and altar boy at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mayer (AZ). According to the second complaint, plaintiff John GJ Doe was a parishioner at Madre de Dios Church in Winslow (AZ) when Fr. Hageman sexually abused him multiple times in the late 1960s. John GJ Doe was approximately 9 to 10 years old at the time.
The Arizona’s Child Victims Act gives survivors until December 31, 2020 to bring lawsuits for sexual abuse they suffered as children in Arizona, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. According to attorney Jeff Anderson, these cases would have otherwise been time-barred by the statute of limitations. To-date, the two law firms have filed seven (7) cases on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse under the Arizona Child Victim’s Act. Anderson says they will file many more before the window closes in December.
“The courageous survivors who brought suit today are exposing more of the perilous practices of Catholic leadership, past and present, and reclaiming some of the power that was taken from them as children,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We are honored to stand with them in their excavation of truths that have been hidden for decades, while protecting their own identities under the Arizona Child Victims Act.”
Fr. Clement Hageman was Shuffled Out of Texas by the Diocese of Corpus Christi After Repeatedly Sexually Abusing Boys There
Fr. Clement Hageman was ordained in 1930 for the Diocese of Corpus Christi after being passed over for ordination at least once. In 1939 a priest of the Diocese wrote to the Bishop of Corpus Christi after Fr. Hageman sexually abused children at the parish to which he was assigned. Fr. Hageman assured the bishop “there was no public knowledge of the affair at all,” that “the physical break-down idea was used very effectively,” and that the priest was “keeping the boys concerned as close to me as possible.” Fr. Hageman never worked in the Diocese of Corpus Christi again.
The next year Fr. Hageman was assigned to work in the Diocese of Gallup where he remained until his death in 1975. During this period he worked at parishes in Kingman, Holbrook, Winslow, Humboldt, Mayer, and Camp Verde, all while continuing to sexually abuse children. In 2016 the Diocese of Gallup described Fr. Hageman in a bankruptcy filing as, “one of the worst abusive priests ever to afflict the Diocese.”
Abuse of John JB Doe and John JG Doe
John JB Doe was 11 or 12 years old and a parishioner and altar boy at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mayer (Arizona) when Fr. Hageman sexually abused him in approximately 1964. The sexual abuse took place at the church after Fr. Hageman asked John JB Doe to help him with chores and cleaning up.
John GJ Doe was a parishioner at Madre de Dios Church in Winslow (Arizona) when Fr. Hageman sexually abused him multiple times in the late 1960s. John GJ Doe was about 9 or 10 years old. When Fr. Hageman he saw the outside the church on a playground, asked the plaintiff to come to the church to help him with chores. Following this, Fr. Hageman began paying the boy to come help clean up and do chores around the church. The priest sexually abused John GJ Doe each time he went. John GJ Doe wanted to quit going to help the priest, but was too afraid to tell his parents about the abuse at the time.