Notre Dame professor named one of two priests accused of sexual abuse in San Antonio civil suit

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

A University of Notre Dame professor is one of two priests accused of sexual abuse in a civil suit filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio.

In the suit, an unnamed plaintiff said that The Rev. Virgilio Elizondo and Father Jesus Armando Dominguez both abused the plaintiff on separate occasions when the victim was a child, WSBT reported. Elizondo is a professor of pastoral and Hispanic theology at Notre Dame.

The victim was touched inappropriately numerous times for more than two years by Dominguez, according to court documents. The victim reached out to Archbishop Patrick Flores with the diocese about the abuse, but Flores never addressed it. The victim eventually spoke to Elizondo in 1983 “to seek clarity” from him about the victim’s interactions with Dominguez.

While in the two were speaking in Elizondo’s vehicle, Elizondo “reached over, kissed (the victim) and began to fondle him,“ according to court documents. The victim fought him off and ran from the vehicle.

Since the incidents, the victim has suffered emotional trauma and attempted suicide, according to the court documents. The victim also lost respect for authority and suffers from substance abuse and addictions.

The victim filed a civil suit against the Archdiocese of San Antonio because the diocese didn’t do anything about the sexual abuse incidents after he reported them, according to court documents. Because it is a civil case, the two accused priests do not face any criminal charges. It’s unclear how much money the plaintiff is seeking.

The lawsuit was filed Friday, May 22, in Bexar County District Court.

Elizondo lives in San Antonio but has taught at Notre Dame since 1999 and is considered the founder of U.S. Latino theology, according to his personal website. He is a fellow at the Institute for Latino Studies and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, according to Notre Dame’s website.

In 1997, Elizondo was awarded the Laetare Medal, an annual award given by Notre Dame to an American Catholic or group of Catholics in recognition of their contribution to society.