For this feature story that wraps up their 2017 coverage, Ellen Berkovitch and Hannah Colton travel to Gallup. In 2013 the Diocese of Gallup was facing an onslaught of survivor lawsuits stemming from sexual abuses by priests and Franciscan friars. It responded by declaring bankruptcy. That made Gallup the 11th of now 18 dioceses and religious orders in the US to head to bankruptcy court since 2004. It took more than three years for the proceedings to conclude. One of the longest running cases — in one of the poorest dioceses of the United States Catholic Church.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe released its list of credibly accused priests, deacons and brothers in September this year. Since November the AD has held three panel discussions on clergy abuse in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos. Two more will be held in January—January 16th in Clovis at Sacred Heart, January 31st in Las Vegas at Immaculate Conception. In January, Ellen and Hannah will host a Wake Up Call show with live guests to discuss outcomes of revealing abusers’ names, and next steps.
Survivors of priest abuse in the Diocese of Gallup met a bar date of August 2014 to file new lawsuits based on past abuses, according to Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola.
The number of lawsuits that attorney Robert Pastor had filed against the Diocese at the time of its bankruptcy was 13.