Arch­bishop: Abuse of a child is a vi­o­la­tion of all hu­man­ity

The Taos News - - FAVOR Y CONTRA - By Arch­bishop John C. Wester

Noth­ing is more im­por­tant than the safety and well-be­ing of our chil­dren, and the heal­ing and re­cov­ery of the vic­tims of child­hood clergy and re­li­gious sex­ual abuse.

Re­cently, we were no­ti­fied of an in­ci­dent of al­leged sex­ual abuse which took place in the arch­dio­cese by Al­bert Chavez. It was the first al­le­ga­tion we have re­ceived against Chavez. The Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe had no prior knowl­edge of any in­ap­pro­pri­ate mis­con­duct against him.

Re­gard­ing Jerome Coyle, the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe was never in­formed that Coyle was liv­ing in the arch­dio­cese un­til he was moved from New Mex­ico back to Iowa. Coyle never had fac­ul­ties as a priest in the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe. To date, we have not re­ceived any in­for­ma­tion al­leg­ing any sex­ual mis­con­duct by Coyle in New Mex­ico.

The Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe re­mains stead­fast in its com­mit­ment to en­forc­ing its zero tol­er­ance sex­ual abuse pre­ven­tion pol­icy and con­tin­ues to de­velop pro­ce­dures for cre­at­ing a safe en­vi­ron­ment. Our com­mit­ment to trans­parency prompted us to pub­lish the List of Cred­i­bly Ac­cused in 2017.

The list con­tains the names of priests, dea­cons, re­li­gious and sem­i­nar­i­ans ac­cused of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren that took place in the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe. In 1993, the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe adopted a zero-tol­er­ance pol­icy.

Sev­eral cases of sex­ual abuse were not re­ported un­til years later. This ex­plains why an ac­cused per­son may have had as­sign­ments af­ter the abuse oc­curred.

Since 1993, as soon as a re­port of sex­ual abuse of a child is made, the ac­cused is re­moved from min­istry, the civil au­thor­i­ties and the In­de­pen­dent Re­view Board are no­ti­fied. The arch­dio­cese needs to be pro­vided the in­for­ma­tion to de­ter­mine if there is a cred­i­ble al­le­ga­tion of sex­ual abuse of a mi­nor, and the al­leged abuser must be in min­istry for the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe dur­ing the time frame the abuse took place. This list is up­dated as needed.

The abuse of a child is a vi­o­la­tion of all hu­man­ity. We pray for the heal­ing of the vic­tims who suf­fered in ways we can­not com­pre­hend. May Christ, the Good Shep­herd, heal His Church and heal us all.

If you, or any­one you know, has been the vic­tim of child­hood sex­ual abuse in the Arch­dio­cese of Santa Fe, please im­me­di­ately con­tact a lo­cal law en­force­ment agency and our Vic­tims’ As­sis­tance Co­or­di­na­tor, An­nette Klimka at (505) 831-8144 or ak­limka@arch­diosf.org.

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