ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new lawsuit says the Vatican sent a New England priest accused of raping boys and stealing parish money was sent to New Mexico for treatment and that he later abused a boy in that state numerous times.

The lawsuit recently filed in Albuquerque District Court says a religious order in Massachusetts wrote the Vatican seeking to fire Rev. John George Weisenborn. However, the Vatican instructed the diocese to send Weisenborn to New Mexico in 1964 where he was later hired as a full-time priest.

According to the lawsuit, Weisenborn abused as boy more than fifty times as a priest at St. Francis Xavier in Albuquerque beginning in 1968.

Court documents say Weisenborn also was detained three times in Washington D.C. for having sex with boys before coming to New Mexico.

A Santa Fe Archdiocese spokeswoman did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.