NM--Records from church HQ seized in child sex case; Victims respond

For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy, director of SNAP (314 566 9790davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,bblaine@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  . . . 

Read full article here

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  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2016-02-09 19:28:13 -0600
    As Bob Dylan told us in 1964, “…..For the times they are a-changin’…..” There is nothing like the unsettling and invasive nature of the execution of search warrants to seize (pun intended) the attention and angst of USA RCC leadership when it comes to the management and investigation of credible child sexual abuse allegations.

    If US Catholics were fortunate to hear about such an occurrence (search warrants at a diocesan HQ) once a month throughout 2016, then the faithful might be able to witness (without the compliance and willingness of USA RCC leadership) real TRANSPARENCY, OPENNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY in 2017.

    Congratulations to law enforcement and public prosecutors in Santa Fe County, NM who have taken the necessary and critical steps required in such an investigation. The message is clear – no stone unturned in the investigation of allegations of child sexual abuse, regardless of the forum where such abuse occurs.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Philadelphia, PA
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