Archdiocese of Santa Fe Facing Nearly 400 Claims in Bankruptcy Process

According to Catholic officials from Santa Fe, “just under 400 claims” of clergy sexual abuse have been brought against the Archdiocese, and Church leaders admit that “many/most of them—past and present—check out as very likely.” We are glad that this admission has been made but cannot help but feel that this is but a small picture of the true scope of sexual abuse and cover-up within New Mexico.

The number of claims tracks very closely with another ongoing bankruptcy, that of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe is similarly sized to that of New Orleans, so we are not surprised to see similar numbers of claims filed. At the same time, we know that bankruptcy processes often leave many survivors out in the cold, and we do not doubt that there are victims who have yet to come forward who will be frozen out of any attempt to seek redress for the crimes they suffered due to this bankruptcy.

To us, bankruptcies like these demonstrate the clear need for survivors to have other opportunities for prevention and justice through statutes of limitations reform. Delayed disclosure of abuse is a proven fact and most victims do not come forward until decades after their abuse. This means that legislators in New Mexico should take up legislation that would repeal the civil statute of limitations in cases of childhood sexual abuse so that survivors will not be prevented from naming their abuser or enabler due to arbitrary time limits.

In the letter from the Vicar General that is pleading for funds to offset the cost of the bankruptcy, we cannot help but notice that there is a reference to the tragedy of losing the Church’s “cultural legacy.” We cannot help but find that statement ironic given that the Church's legacy was built by exploiting local native American populations and erasing their cultural legacy. Many children in New Mexico have been terribly hurt by the Church, whether at the hands of clergy and staff or due to the erasure of their cultural identity and homelands, so this plea, to us, rings particularly hollow.

CONTACT: Mary O’Day, SNAP Phoenix ([email protected], 602-677-2188), Tim Lennon, SNAP President ([email protected], 415-312-5820), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(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

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