The Archdiocese of Santa Fe last week shocked the state by releasing -- for the first time -- a list of 74 names of priests, deacons and brothers that it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
In a statement, Archbishop John Wester said he hopes the publication of the list will help victims and their communities to heal, and help rebuild trust in the Church.
It’s a move that other dioceses around the country have turned to after media pressure or after filing for bankruptcy. Victims’ advocates like the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) have called for more transparency from the Church for years. They call this a step in the right direction but say the decision was motivated by "a new law in New Mexico that allows victims of child sexual abuse to make (accused clergy) names public through the civil courts.”
But the Church’s sexual abuse crisis in New Mexico - and its responsibility to the public - does not begin and end with this list. For months, a team of reporters for KSFR, Ellen Berkovitch and Hannah Colton, has been looking into an epidemic perpetrated by an institution deeply embedded in our state’s culture and history. Rita Daniels joined the team more recently to investigate the sexual abuse crisis in the northern New Mexico churches.
Today we bring you the first in a special series “Dark Canyon: Sexual Abuse and Secrecy in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.” Ellen Berkovitch has the story.