NM--Records from church HQ seized in child sex case; Victims respond
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016
Police have seized documents from the headquarters of the Catholic church in New Mexico because of a child sex abuse case. We applaud this move and hope it results in top church officials being criminally charged for ignoring or hiding evidence about possible child sex crimes.
All too often, law enforcement agencies are not aggressive in pursuing those who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids in religious settings. All too often, they go after the predators but not the enablers. All too often, they take church officials’ word that church staff have little or no relevant information in these cases.
Such a naïve approach is irresponsible, especially given the long and continuing pattern of Catholic officials valuing secrecy over openness and protecting their own careers over their flocks.
So we applaud the decision by New Mexico secular authorities to secure and execute search warrants on both the church headquarters and a parochial school (Santo Nino Regional Catholic School in Santa Fe).
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Aaron Chavez or cover ups by his colleagues will come forward, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
And we hope Archbishop John Wester will use personal news conferences, pulpit announcements, church bulletins and parish websites to beg anyone with information or suspicions about crime by Chavez or cover ups in the Santa Fe archdiocese to call police and prosecutors.
NOTE – here’s what we said about this troubling case a few days ago: http://www.snapnetwork.org/nm_another_catholic_child_sex_abuse_case_victims_respond
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Sheriff’s deputies seize Archdiocese records in molestation case
Posted: Monday, February 8, 2016 10:30 pm | Updated: 6:50 am, Tue Feb 9, 2016.
By Uriel J. Garcia, The New Mexican
Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies have seized records from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe as part of an investigation into allegations that an art teacher at the Santo Niño Regional Catholic School inappropriately touched female students.
Affidavits for search warrants filed Monday in state District Court say deputies took various items Friday from archdiocese offices in Albuquerque as well as the school south of Santa Fe, including files on five students, the teacher’s personnel files, a laptop computer and electronic memory cards.
Criminal complaints filed recently in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court charge . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.