The Latest: New Mexico archdiocese to file for bankruptcy
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on the New Mexico attorney general’s investigation in clergy sex abuse (all times local):
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe says it will file for bankruptcy protection next week, citing depleted reserves as the Catholic church in New Mexico has settled numerous claims of sexual abuse by clergy.
Archbishop John Wester made the announcement Thursday. He said he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point and he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims.
Wester acknowledged a charged atmosphere, pointing to the clergy sex abuse investigation in Pennsylvania and other cases that have garnered national attention. He said the archdiocese has about three dozen cases and he said there will likely be more.
About 20 dioceses and other religious orders around the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of the claims.
Search warrants obtained by The Associated Press reveal graphic allegations of sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy in New Mexico.
The warrants were served Wednesday by agents with the state attorney general’s office at the home of a former priest in northern New Mexico and at the offices of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which is located in Albuquerque.
The warrants were based on the statements of two unidentified victims and a confidential informant who provided information about the church not following through on settlements and giving ultimatums to victims. That included threats of stopping paid treatment if victims went to authorities with their claims.
The archdiocese did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Archbishop John Wester planned a news conference Thursday afternoon after meeting with all priests in the diocese. It was unclear what announcement he would be making.
New Mexico prosecutors have obtained documents from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe regarding the service records of two former priests.
Agents with the state Attorney General’s Office served a search warrant to get the information.
The Archdiocese in a statement identified the former priests as Marvin Archuleta and Sabine Griego. The two are among those on the archdiocese’s list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
Prosecutors earlier this year said they wanted church officials to allow them to review personnel records for any material that might be related to past or present allegations of abuse.
In May, Griego was named in a civil lawsuit by seven people who say they are victims of sexual abuse. Court records did not list an attorney for him.
Archuleta’s whereabouts is unknown.