The Diocese of Las Cruces Releases Names of Accused Priests, SNAP Responds

The Diocese of Las Cruces in New Mexico has released a list of names of priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.

We are grateful to Attorney General Hector Balderas for compelling the diocese to take this action. Without his active investigation into clergy sex abuse, we doubt that this list would have been released nor would it have included as much detail as it currently does. We hope that any survivors who are encouraged to come forward by this disclosure will take advantage of the resources that the attorney general’s office has made available on their website and make their report to independent law enforcement authorities, not to the Church.

It is worth noting that this announcement refers only to “credible accusations.” This, in our opinion, means that many names are probably missing from this list. Church officials are not the best arbiters of what is credible and what is not, especially since there have been many examples – such as this case in California – where accusations deemed “not credible” actually turned out to be very real. We believe that Bishops should release all names and allow independent law enforcement officials to determine credibility.

We hope that Bishop Oscar Cantu will now permanently publicize this list, along with any subsequent updates, on his diocesan website and run it at least quarterly in every parish bulletin. It should include every single proven, admitted and accused church employee: bishops, priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them, and no matter where they originated. Bishop Cantu should also put by each name the date when the diocese first learned of the allegation against that person, as well as the date the he/she was finally removed from ministry. It is important for accountability to find out who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org


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