March 26, 2001

To depict the Virgin Mary in a floral bikini held aloft by a bare breasted angel is to be insulting, even sacrilegious, to the many thousands of New Mexicans who have deep religious devotion to Guadalupe. -- Statement of Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan

May 22, 2001

Instead of showing her as the innocent Mother of Jesus, she is shown as a tart or a street woman, not the Mother of God! -- Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan on Our Lady of Guadalupe Portrayal

•Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan: Do Catholics Really Worship The Virgin Mary?

Second in a series
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan
Do Catholics Really Worship The Virgin Mary?

As I continue to teach that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of the truth of Jesus and not just a part of it, I use the analogy of the whole pie and not just a slice.
Catholic teaching about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is one of the most distinctive truths of the Catholic faith. A most important "slice of the pie."


Prejudice against the Catholic Church, like crabgrass, is hard to get rid of. It keeps coming back.

In recent years, some fundamentalist Christians have made accusations that Catholics adore Mary, her statues and paintings. Is it true? Certainly not. We do not worship Mary. We worship only God, and Mary is not God.

Catholics, since the early days of the church, have made a distinction between the honor we call adoration or worship, which is given only to God, and the honor we call veneration, which is given to Mary and the saints. Christians have venerated Mary since the third century because he is the Mother of Jesus; she is found in the Bible numerous times; and, she is the best example we could have of a person of faith and grace.


It is true that there have been people who, through love of the Blessed Mother or through lack of religious formation, seem to adore her in their devotional practices.

Such practices are not approved by the Catholic Church. In fact, the church seeks to correct such abuses by the teachings of the councils, the clergy and religious education.

We must not, however, let the excesses of some move us to neglect a rich devotion to Mary. She is not only the Mother of Jesus, but also our spiritual mother.

Recently, at a local conference on devotion to Mary, one of the speakers gave a fresh insight into those who do not have a love for Mary. She noted that adolescents often fail to appreciate their mothers. Then, with time, they begin to realize what blessings their mothers are and love them all the more.

The speaker noted that she was a convert to the church and did not really appreciate the Blessed Mother until recent years. She likened herself to an adolescent, realizing only with time and prayer the importance of Mary in her life and in the life of the church.

There are many spiritual adolescents today who do not appreciate the role of Mary. I take this occasion to call them to maturity and a deeper appreciation for Mary.


Mary is highlighted numerous times in the Bible. As Father Juan Diaz, S.J., writes in his wonderful book, Miriam the Galilean Woman, the first one to begin praising Mary is God. He greets her through the words of the angel in Luke 1:28, the first words of the Hail Mary: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women." Mary accepted the message of the angel and agreed to be the Mother of the Lord.

Later, in chapter two, Luke features Mary in the infancy narratives and at the presentation of Jesus in the temple.


Matthew, quoting Isaiah, speaks of the virgin birth and of the Nativity.

When Jesus starts His public life, it is at the request of Mary during the wedding feast of Cana (John 2:1-12). During Jesus' public life, Mary is mentioned; and, at the foot of the cross, Jesus gives Mary to his beloved disciple, John.

The accounts of the Resurrection, the Ascension and Pentecost all indicate the presence of Mary. It is almost surprising that Mary, given her presence at almost all the significant moments in Christ's life described in the Holy Scriptures, is not honored by other churches. To me, it seems a glaring omission.

We Catholics believe that the Christian faith is incomplete without Mary.


Our devotion to Mary should move us to see her as a wonderful model of faith whom we should imitate. She was truly human in every respect except sin; she knew fear and embarrassment when she was pregnant out of wedlock; she knew sorrow as she realized King Herod sought to kill her son; she felt confusion when she and Joseph found Jesus in the temple after they had feared he was lost; she felt devastated by the suffering and death of Jesus; and, finally she must have felt terrible loneliness after the deaths of both Joseph and Jesus.

Yet the Scriptures describe her as a woman of grace and faith; someone whose example we need today.


Fundamentalists often ridicule our devotion to Mary. Catholics counter by saying these people are orphans since we have Mary who is our mother, the mother of the church.


It is not difficult to see why Mary has had a most important place in Catholic tradition through the centuries. A wall of the Catacomb of Saint Priscilla in Rome has a simple painting of Mary dating from the second century. Father Diaz' book, mentioned above, quotes this early Christian prayer from the fourth century:"Your mantle of mercy protect us, O Mother of God. Do not forsake us in our need, but free us from every evil, you who are the only pure and worthy one of praise."

The Rosary, the Hail Mary, the Angelus and other Marian prayers have been to us, and Christians of every age, a great comfort. Mary takes our prayers to the Father and her Son, Jesus. What better intercessor could we have?

We honor Mary under different titles. "The Mother of God," the "Immaculate Conception," the "Mother of the Church," and "Our Lady of Guadalupe" are examples.

These and other titles bring out the richness of who she is. Some of the finest art and music through the centuries have been created in honor of the Virgin Mary.

Together with the Holy Father I invite each of us to deepen our devotion to Mary -- or to rediscover it -- so that we might follow the Mother of the Redeemer in our pilgrimage of faith.
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©1993 Our Sunday Visitor



•Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico

A Brief History of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Catholic Church is deeply involved in the history of New Mexico. Fray Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan, first saw the land we now call New Mexico in 1539 and reported on the rich possibilities to be found there. All the early expeditions into this "New Kingdom of St. Francis" included Franciscan missionaries, many of whom stayed behind and were martyred by the Indians once the Spanish soldiers returned to Mexico. The first permanent settlement, San Gabriel, was founded in 1598 by Juan de Onate near present day San Juan Pueblo. This settlement served as the capital of New Mexico until 1610 when the capital was relocated to its present location - Santa Fe. Prompted by legitimate grievances, the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680 drove the Spanish settlers out of New Mexico and killed many Franciscan missionaries. The Indians destroyed all which reminded them of the Spanish and their God. Monumental churches and conventos which had been built by the Franciscans during their missionary work among the Indians were destroyed. The Spanish retreated to and settled in the vicinity of El Paso del Norte (present day El Paso-Juarez) where a mission had been established several years before.

In 1692, newly appointed Governor Diego de Vargas, restored Spanish authority, both civil and religious, to New Mexico. He, along with colonists, troops, and missionaries reentered New Mexico in 1693. The new Franciscan friars who accompanied him immediately proceeded to rebuild or restore the destroyed churches, as well as to build new ones in isolated and remote villages throughout New Mexico. Episcopal jurisdiction was granted in 1797 and all the churches in New Mexico were secularized and made responsible to the Bishop of Durango. When Mexico declared her independence from Spain in 1821 the Franciscan friars lost their support and withdrew from New Mexico. This area remained part of the Diocese of Durango until 1850.

On July 19, 1850, Pope Pius IX created the Vicariate Apostolic of New Mexico and appointed Father Jean Baptiste Lamy as its first Bishop. Bishop Lamy arrived in New Mexico in the summer of 185 1. His early efforts were directed to the building of more churches, the creation of new parishes and the establishment of educational and medical facilities. By 1853, the Vicariate Apostolic had become a See in its own right, the Diocese of Santa Fe, and on February 12, 1875, the Diocese of Santa Fe was elevated to an Archdiocese with Bishop Lamy as its first Archbishop. In 1869 Bishop Lamy began building a stone cathedral, to replace the old adobe church, parts of which had served the parishioners of Santa Fe since 1717 (the Conquistadora Chapel is all that remains). The new stone Cathedral was built around and over the old church, in the style of the Romanesque churches of France familiar to Bishop Lamy. By 1884 the main part of the Cathedral was finished and the old church was torn down from under it. Archbishop Lamy died on February 14, 1888 and is buried under the sanctuary floor of his beloved St. Francis Cathedral. He was succeeded as Archbishop of Santa Fe by John Baptist Salpointe. Archbishop John Baptist Pitaval, fifth Archbishop of Santa Fe, dedicated the bronze statue of Archbishop Lamy which stands in front of the Cathedral on May 23, 1915.

Just as New Mexico originally extended beyond its present limits, so did the limits of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. The territory to be covered was so immense, however, that in time the Archdiocese began dividing itself into other entities. In 1868 the Vicariate of Arizona and Colorado were created. These later became dioceses in their own right. The southernmost part of New Mexico has in the past been part of the Dioceses of Dallas and of El Paso which was created on March 3, 1914. This area is now the Diocese of Las Cruces which was created on October 18, 1982. The north western and west central portion of New Mexico became part of the Diocese of Gallup when it was created on December 16, 1939.

On October 7, 1945 the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was solemnly consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and in 1954, a Marian Year, Pope John XXIII formally crowned New Mexico's own image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "La Conquistadora, " as queen of the archdiocese. This statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary known as La Conquistadora, Our Lady of the Conquest, was brought to New Mexico by Fray Alonso de Benevides in 1625 and has meant a great deal to all the people of New Mexico since then. In 1992, the title of "Our Lady of Peace" was added by Archbishop Robert Sanchez.

The liturgical center and "cathedra" or chair of the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to this day remain in Santa Fe. Administrative offices of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, however, were relocated to Albuquerque by Archbishop James Peter Davis, ninth Archbishop of Santa Fe, in 1967. The administration of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe is now conducted from offices located at the Catholic Center on the West Mesa in Albuquerque.

At present the Archdiocese of Santa Fe covers an area of 61,142 square miles. There are 91 parish seats and 216 active missions throughout this area. 



1. Most Rev. John B. Lamy, D.D. - born October 11, 1814 in Lemps, France; ordained December 1838; consecrated First Vicar Apostolic of New Mexico and Titular Bishop of Agathonica November 24, 1850; appointed First Bishop of Santa Fe July 29, 1853; created First Archbishop February 12, 1875; pallium conferred June 16, 1875; resigned July 18, 1885; appointed Titular Archbishop of Cizicus August 18, 1885; died February 13, 1888 in Santa Fe, NM.

2. Most Rev. John B. Salpointe, D.D. - born February 21, 1825 in St. Maurice-de-Poinsat, France; ordained December 20, 1851; consecrated Titular Bishop of Dorylaeum and First Vicar Apostolic of Arizona June 20, 1869; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe cum jure succesionis April 22, 1884; promoted Titular Archbishop of Anazarba October 11, 1884; succeeded to the See of Santa Fe July 18, 1885; pallium conferred November 21, 1885; resigned January 7, 1894; Titular Archbishop of Tomi 1894-1898; died July 15, 1898 in Tuscon, Arizona.

3. Most Rev. Placid L. Chapelle, D.D. - born August 28, 1842 in Runes, France; ordained June 28, 1865; appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe August 21, 1891; consecrated Coadjutor Archbishop of Santa Fe cum jure succesionis November 1, 1891; succeeded to See of Santa Fe January 7, 1894; pallium conferred October 17, 1895; transferred to be Archbishop of New Orleans December 1, 1897; Apostolic Delegate for Puerto Rico & Cuba 1898; Apostolic Delegate for the Phillipines 1899; died August 9, 1905 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

4. Most Rev. Peter Bourgade, D.D. - born October 17, 1845 in Vollore-Ville, France, ordained November 30, 1869; appointed Vicar Apostolic of Arizona February 7, 1885; consecrated May 1, 1885; became First Bishop of Tuscon and Titular Bishop of Thaumacum May 8, 1897; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe January 7, 1899; died May 17, 1908 in Chicago, Illinois.

5. Most Rev. John B. Pitaval D.D. - born February 10, 1858 in St. Genis-Terrenoire, France; ordained December 24, 1881; appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Fe May 15, 1902; consecrated Titular Bishop of Sora and Auxiliary Bishop of Santa Fe July 25, 1902; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe January 3, 1909; resigned February 1918; appointed Titular Archbishop of Amida July 29, 1918; died May 23, 1928 in Denver, Colorado.

6. Most Rev. Albert T. Daeger, O.F.M; D.D. - born March 5, 1872 in St. Ann, Indiana; joined Franciscan order August 15, 1889; ordained July 25, 1896; consecrated Archbishop of Santa Fe May 7, 1919; died December 2, 1932 in Santa Fe, NM.

7. Most Rev. Rudolph A. Gerken, D.D. - born March 7, 1884 in Dyersville, Iowa; ordained June 10, 1917; consecrated & appointed First Bishop of Amarillo April 26, 1927; appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe June 2, 1933; installed August 23, 1933; died March 2, 1943 in Santa Fe, NM.

8. Most Rev. Edwin V. Byme, D.D. - born August 9, 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; ordained May 22, 1915; consecrated & appointed First Bishop of Ponce, Puerto Rico June 23, 1925; appointed Bishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico 1929; promoted Archbishop of Santa Fe June 15, 1943; died July 25, 1963 in Santa Fe, NM.

9. Most Rev. James P. Davis, D.D. - born June 9, 1904 in Houghton, Michigan; ordained May 19, 1929; appointed Bishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico July 7, 1943, consecrated October 6, 1943 in Tuscon, Arizona; installed November 25, 1943; promoted First Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico April 30, 1960; transferred to be Archbishop of Santa Fe January 3, 1964; installed February 25, 1964; resigned October 1974; died March 4, 1988 in Phoenix, Arizona.

10. Most Rev. Robert F. Sanchez, D.D. - born March 20, 1934 in Socorro, NM; ordained December 20, 1959; appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe June 1, 1974; consecrated & installed July 25, 1974; resigned April 6, 1993.

11. Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan, S.T.L.; J.C.D. - born July 9, 1939 in Wichita, Kansas, ordained July 12, 1964; consecrated & installed First Bishop of Lubbock June 17, 1983; appointed Apostolic Administrator of Santa Fe April 6, 1993; appointed Archbishop of Santa Fe August 17, 1993; installed September 21, 1993, pallium conferred June 28, 1994 in Rome, Italy.





•Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez

Robert F. Sanchez resigned as archbishop in early 1993 in the wake of a CBS "60 Minutes" piece in which three women alleged Sanchez engaged in sexual misconduct with them and took advantage of them when they were teen-agers. In the deposition made public in 1996, testimony revealed the former archbishop had held two dark secrets - growing allegations that priests sexually abused children in the archdiocese and his own affairs with young women.

The case of Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez

Robert F. Sanchez resigned as archbishop in early 1993 in the wake of a CBS "60 Minutes" piece in which three women alleged Sanchez engaged in sexual misconduct with them and took advantage of them when they were teen-agers.

Sanchez is believed to be living on a farm in Minnesota, where he has worked for a number of years.
In the deposition made public in 1996, testimony revealed the former archbishop had held two dark secrets - growing allegations that priests sexually abused children in the archdiocese and his own affairs with women.

The document also indicated that Sanchez kept the lid on the sex abuse charges as long as he could, fearing they would plunge parishes into "scandal" and "division". And his own sexual relationships were his private shame.

Sanchez admitted he had sexual contact with women for at least 18 years before resigning as archbishop, the January 1994 deposition said.

Below are some of the more significant stories the Journal has written on the case. The dates are the original publication dates:


• I Forgive Sanchez, Woman Says (3-21-98)
A woman whose sons allegedly were abused by a parish priest said she has forgiven former Archbishop Robert Sanchez for not acting more forcefully to stop clergy from preying on young boys.

Friday, March 20, 1998
Mother of Alleged Victims Forgives Sanchez

By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer

A woman whose sons allegedly were abused by a parish priest said Friday that she has forgiven former Archbishop Robert Sanchez for not acting more forcefully to stop clergy from preying on young boys.

Marlene Debrey-Nowak said that perhaps Sanchez has become a scapegoat for the entire pedophile priest scandal, and that many Catholics should share the blame.

Debrey-Nowak said she knew priests who kept silent even though they had knowledge of what their abusive colleagues were doing. And she knew Catholic adults who blamed children, not bad priests, for the wrongdoing.

Debrey-Nowak said she is "not as angry as I was before" after reading an account of Sanchez's testimony. A District Court judge ordered release of the October 1994 deposition on Thursday.

During the four days of sworn testimony, Sanchez demonstrated how he, as leader of the Roman Catholic archdiocese, was slow to deal with sexual abuse accusations against priests under his authority.

"Maybe what we have done is made Sanchez the scapegoat for everything," Debrey-Nowak said. "There are many other Catholic people who haven't behaved well."

Debrey-Nowak, of Placitas, is a former professional counselor who dealt with victims of abusive priests, including her sons. She said she had firsthand knowledge of the scandal that rocked the archdiocese of approximately 275,000 Catholics in northern and central New Mexico.

She admitted she has "grown and changed how I view things" since going public in 1993 about how the Rev. Arthur Perrault allegedly molested her sons, then 91/2 and 11, starting in 1976.

Perrault was one of a number of priests accused of molesting children at New Mexico parishes. He left Albuquerque after allegations of his sexual misconduct surfaced in 1992. His whereabouts is unknown.

Debrey-Nowak, no longer a practicing Catholic, recalled meeting with the former archbishop after learning of what she thought was just one incident of abuse involving Perrault and her boys. She said Sanchez told her Perrault would receive help for his problem.

She said she thought the matter was taken care of, only to learn from her sons in 1993 that Perrault had been abusing them for 22 months before what she thought was the only incident.

"Children are trained not to say bad things about a priest or they'll go to hell," she said.

"Some people are horrified that I have forgiven Robert Sanchez, and I have. Other people say there's nothing to forgive, that he did nothing wrong. He did plenty wrong."

Debrey-Nowak said that perhaps Sanchez was honest when he said in the deposition that it never entered his mind to ask a bad priest about other victims.

In Debrey-Nowak's opinion, the statements in Sanchez's deposition give the impression that he was in denial because the pain of the scandal was so great.

Debrey-Nowak said she thinks the former archbishop still doesn't understand the tragic consequences of the situation after reading his statement, which was issued this week in conjunction with the deposition.

She cited Sanchez's comment about how the Holy Spirit will "heal and transform our lives" as Catholics approach the great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

"In general, the victims I know well are not in a healing mode and they're not doing well in life," Debrey-Nowak said. "I have spent a lot of time with other victims."

Attorney Stephen Tinkler said most of the clients he represented in cases against the archdiocese are still trying to deal with the effects of sexual abuse incidents.

Tinkler said his Santa Fe-based firm, Tinkler & Bennett, handled more than one-third of the cases against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. All their cases have been settled. One of the conditions is that monetary amounts be kept confidential, he said.

The deposition's public release was important, he said, because it showed in detail what the Catholic Church, through the archbishop, knew about various priests and their alleged sexual abuse of children. Tinkler said Sanchez admitted in numerous places in the deposition that he "didn't do anything to discipline or censor or take any action whatsoever against the priests."

The Sanchez depositions, including the one released about 11/2 years ago, helped end the speculation the public had about what the church knew and didn't know about sexual misconduct in the 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s, he said.

"And I believe that as a result of all the litigation that went on -- the 160 cases that were filed -- the Catholic Church has taken the appropriate steps to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again," Tinkler said.


• Sanchez Describes Sex-Abuse Investigation (3-21-98)

Friday, March 20, 1998
Sanchez Describes Sex-Abuse Investigation

By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer

Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez explained during a deposition in October 1994 how he learned about the word "pedophile" and of other victims of sexually abusive priests.
Sanchez was responding to questions from attorney Stephen Tinkler about then-Albuquerque priest Jason Sigler, who pleaded guilty in 1983 to a charge of criminal sexual penetration of a minor in exchange for a deferred sentence.

Tinkler: "Back in 1981 when you heard that Father Sigler had sexually abused young children, without regard to whether he was a pedophile or not, when did you start to realize there may be more victims than the ones you heard about?"

Sanchez: "The pastor, Father Hunt, was the one who brought the allegations to my attention. They were more than one. I don't recall at this moment what the number was. And Father Hunt was a man who had taken studies in psychology and certainly was more aware of this type of action than I was. And I believe it was his own suggestion, and I agreed with that, that he would continue to see if there were any other victims or young boys involved, and that he would visit the homes of these boys for us to talk with the families. And I thought that was the proper pastoral procedure for that sort of thing."

Tinkler: "And, to your knowledge, that was done by Father Hunt; is that correct?"

Sanchez: "Yes, to my knowledge that was done."

Tinkler: "At the same time, did the thought cross your mind that Father Sigler has been in our diocese since 1970, and that there might be victims in previous parishes?"

Sanchez: "No, sir, it did not cross my mind."

Tinkler: "Did you talk to Father Hunt about that?"

Sanchez: "No, sir, I did not."

Tinkler: "And is that why you did not initiate any investigation into the earlier parishes where Father Sigler served?"

Sanchez: "I would have to assume so."

Tinkler: "Now, you've indicated that you never heard of the word 'pedophile' until the bishops' conference in 1985; is that correct?"

Sanchez: "That's when it made an impression on me, certainly."

Tinkler: "What did you call this kind of conduct before that?"

Sanchez: "Misconduct. I think it was commonly referred to as being with young boys, touching young boys, playing around with boys. I think this was the sort of common language that would be used, but they didn't have a technical term to describe what you call sexual misconduct as pedophilia; at least that was not known to us."

Tinkler: "So if I'm understanding you, you're saying that if an allegation like that arose prior to you learning the term pedophilia, you would refer to it as messing around with boys?"

Sanchez: "Others would refer to it as that."

Tinkler: "Others?"

Sanchez: "They would come and say, 'he's too familiar,' 'he's too close.' These were not explicit terms as you would find today."

Tinkler: "Did you yourself use less explicit terms?"

Sanchez: "Being too familiar with young boys."

Later, when asked what such phrases referred to, Sanchez answered, "My, in my own mind, I thought there had been fondling and this type of external touching or embracing that was certainly out of order. That's what I was imagining."


•Archbishop Sanchez Slow To Examine Accusations (3-20-98)

Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez was slow to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against several priests under his jurisdiction. This was the portrait of the one-time spiritual leader of New Mexico's Roman Catholics in a deposition. (3-20-98)

March 20, 1998
Archbishop Sanchez Slow To Examine Accusations
By Paul Logan
and Mike Gallagher
Journal Staff Writers

Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez was slow to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against several priests under his jurisdiction.
In cases where a priest admitted sexual misconduct, the archbishop quickly removed them and ordered them into treatment.

But in cases where the allegations were denied, Sanchez responded by moving the priest to another job. In at least two instances, priests preyed upon more young victims in their new positions.

This was the portrait of the one-time spiritual leader of New Mexico's 275,000 Roman Catholics in a deposition released Thursday.

District Court Judge Susan Conway ordered release of the October 1994 deposition, modifying a protective order she had issued earlier to keep sealed.

Conway deleted sections of Sanchez's four days of testimony that she deemed "not of legitimate public interest" or as intruding on the privacy of individuals such as abuse victims and their families.

Much of Sanchez's testimony in the deposition released Thursday centered on how he dealt with four priests alleged to have committed sexual acts with young boys in the 1970s and early 1980s including:

*The Rev. Clive Lynn, a pastor in Mora and Raton who allegedly had sexual relations with boys in those communities. At last report, Lynn is believed to be in Europe.

*The Rev. Ed Donelan, director of Hacienda de los Muchachos, who continued to serve at northern New Mexico parishes after detailed allegations of sexual abuse were made against him. Donelan died in 1994.

*The Rev. Sabine Griego, who was accused of sexual misconduct in two different parishes. Griego was a confidant of the archbishop and at one point was asked to look into sexual misconduct allegations against another priest.

*The Rev. Robert Smith who was given electroshock therapy for depression and reassigned to parish duties where he was accused of sexual misconduct. Smith, who died in 1987, had been accused of sexual misconduct while still in the seminary.

KOB-TV, the Albuquerque Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune have sought for several years to make the archbishop's depositions public.

About 18 months ago, Conway ordered the release of 700 edited pages of another deposition given by Sanchez in a lawsuit against the archdiocese.

The deposition released Thursday was unsealed after attorneys for KOB-TV filed court documents stating that one of the plaintiffs in the case wanted the testimony opened.

Attorneys for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the former archbishop fought against release.

Sanchez's depositions, which are sworn testimony that can be used in court, were used for a number of since-settled civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests.

The Rev. Clive Lynn

Lynn was transferred from St. Gertrude's Parish in Mora to St. Joseph's in Raton in 1982 after a series of complaints from parishioners, including general allegations that Lynn was having sexual relations with boys in the parish.

Sanchez said none of the allegations arising from Lynn's stay in Mora was investigated and that the allegations were not specific enough to warrant investigation.

At least one petition signed by 200 members of the parish asked for Lynn's transfer.

About eight years after Lynn was transferred out of Mora, the archdiocese settled a claim with a Mora resident who said he was molested by Lynn. Sanchez testified in his deposition that he couldn't recall the exact settlement amount, but said $500,000 was "far too high."

"I never took any action against Father Lynn regarding the concerns about sexual activity in Mora. Perhaps it's just our interpretation of the word 'allegation,' " Sanchez said.

Sanchez testified that he ordered Lynn to contact an Albuquerque psychologist and begin therapy as a result of the Mora complaints, but there was no evidence that he did.

Sanchez said that order was not just in response to what he considered unspecific complaints about sexual improprieties on Lynn's part.

"I would have instructed him to see the doctor for all of the allegations or all the needs that he seemed to have expressed or indicated in his behavior," Sanchez said in 1994.

However, according to the deposition, there was no record that Lynn obeyed Sanchez's order and went to the psychologist.

Lynn arrived in Raton in 1982.

The archbishop received complaints about his behavior there in December 1984 in the form of a letter from state welfare officials.

He received another letter about Lynn from the state Health and Social Services Department on Feb. 28, 1985.

Despite the complaints, Sanchez didn't remove Lynn from the parish until July 1985 and didn't formally suspend his right to act as a priest until April 18, 1986.

But Sanchez said he did take action on the complaints. He assigned the Rev. Johnny Lee Chavez, a Raton native, to visit the community and talk to families who had problems with Lynn. Sanchez also said he had a recollection of having confronted Father Lynn personally about allegations made by families.

Plaintiffs' attorney Stephen Tinkler asked the archbishop why he didn't move more quickly after receiving the Feb. 28 letter.

Tinkler: "Why didn't you send someone up to Raton in a vehicle and get Clive Lynn out of the parish?"

Sanchez: "Sir, that is not my style, nor is it the style of the church in a particular instance of this case. I was dealing with the Health and Social Services."

Tinkler: "What about the kids who were being abused?"

Sanchez: "I had a lot of concern for the kids. The man had been confronted and warned. We do not -- well, we do not have police, you know, in the church. We don't have the same authority as you do in a civil society, but we do have the right to warn and to confront the individual, which I did."

Tinkler pointed out that one letter sent to the archbishop said, "We hope that some action will be taken to stop further molestation of children in our community."

Tinkler then asked, "Did you think that meant it was OK to have the children molested until March as long as you were thinking about it?"

After arguments by attorneys, Sanchez said that "no molestation is good, we all know that, against any child ... I believe I did what I felt was reasonable at the time."

Sanchez said Lynn had been informed by April 30 that he would be removed from Raton and told he needed to undergo testing. On June 6, the archbishop gave Lynn additional time in Raton.

Tinkler: "When you decided to give Father Lynn an additional approximately 30 days to finish the ministry at the parish ... how did you feel, that, say the 12-year-old boys were going to be protected during that period of time?"

Sanchez: "I don't think I can answer for the boys, sir. The families certainly were concerned, and I was concerned for them. I didn't know the boys personally. ... I just feel so badly that your question is indicating that I had no sense of feeling for the children or did not care about them ..."

Tinkler also read from the letter Sanchez wrote to Lynn on June 6:

According to the deposition transcript, Sanchez thanked Lynn for his "ministry to the beautiful people of St. Joseph's Parish ... You have served them well and you are a dedicated priest. As I told you personally, I am most grateful to you for the love and ministry that you have extended to these people. I want only to help your ministry become more effective."

Tinkler: "Those are your words, correct?"

Sanchez: "Yes, sir."

Tinkler: "Is that how you dealt with all the pedophile priests, with that kind of attitude?"

Sanchez: "No sir."

The archbishop said Lynn had support from many in the parish and that he was simply thanking him for his good work -- in spite of the complaints and allegations.

Lynn didn't leave Raton until a new pastor arrived in late June or early July. There was questioning in the deposition over the fact that Sanchez didn't suspend Lynn's right to function as a priest sooner.

The archbishop said that after Lynn left Raton but before his suspension, he was still allowed to celebrate Mass but couldn't perform other duties because he wasn't assigned to a parish.

After leaving Raton, Lynn was in Colorado where he encountered the belief that he had been suspended. Sanchez wrote a letter on Lynn's behalf confirming that he could celebrate Mass "although as I clarified for you, I will not allow them to grant you a formal assignment to any parish as an associate pastor."

The archbishop said he didn't move more quickly to suspend Lynn because it appeared to him that Lynn had been cooperating with his requests, including that he be evaluated.

Sanchez formally notified Lynn on April 18, 1986, that he was suspended.

The Rev. Ed Donelan

The Rev. Ed Donelan was the director of Hacienda de los Muchachos, a boys' ranch-type program run under the authority of the state Health and Social Services Department.

Sanchez said he had made a decision to no longer allow Donelan to be director in 1976 because the state was shutting the program down.

Sanchez said he had a number of other concerns and that Donelan denied the sexual allegations when confronted.

Sanchez said he transferred Donelan from Hacienda de los Muchachos to a Santa Fe parish -- but not because of concerns about Donelan's sexual habits.

Tinkler: "Do you recall (blank) informing you about the incident where he walked in on Father Ed in the skin room at the Boys' Ranch and that Father Ed was naked on the furs lying on his side, embracing one of the boys?"

Sanchez: "A very serious statement. I don't recall it from the conversation or whatever it was with (blank)."

Sanchez testified that the state Health and Social Services Department had responsibility for the ranch.

Sanchez: "I thought there was no need for further investigation (by the archdiocese) in view of the fact that I had just told him that his position as director had ended, I had withdrawn permission for him to serve as director of a ranch operated by the Health and Social Services of the State of New Mexico."

Tinkler: "So you didn't think that there was any further need for investigation since he wasn't going to be at the ranch; is that what you're saying?"

Sanchez: "I myself am not an investigator. I think the state, being the prime operator of the ranch also had the responsibility, more so than I. He had a board of directors to whom he had to answer for its operation as well.

"I was a superior but had little or nothing to do with him and the operation of the ranch. That was supposed to have been operated and run under the authority of the State of New Mexico."

Sanchez transferred Donelan to work at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Santa Fe. Later he was assigned to St. Joseph's Parish in Mosquero and Roy. In 1979 Donelan was transferred to Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Taos.

The only complaints during this time, Sanchez testified, had to do with Donelan's blunt manner.

The Rev. Sabine Griego

Sanchez in at least one case dispatched the Rev. Sabine Griego, pastor of Queen of Heaven Parish in Albuquerque from 1979 to 1991, to look into allegations of sexual misconduct by another priest.

A lawsuit filed in 1993 alleged that Sanchez transferred Griego to Albuquerque after allegations that he had molested boys while serving as a priest in Las Vegas, N.M.

Griego resigned at Queen of Heaven after a sexual misconduct allegation was made against him. Sanchez said in his deposition that he talked with Griego after the allegations surfaced in 1991, and Griego "indicated to me" that they were true.

The former archbishop said he never asked Griego if there were other incidents. When asked if he tried to determine whether there were other victims, Sanchez said "it simply didn't enter my mind at that time."

Sanchez said it "was simply my assumption that a center of therapeutic care would be the place where these type of questions and confrontations and issues would be dealt with in detail and would be brought to my attention."

After Griego returned from several months of therapy for pedophilia, he moved in with Sanchez.

Since he didn't hear from therapists as to other events or any other incidents in his life, Sanchez testified that he decided to make Griego a chaplain at St. Joseph Hospital.

Griego ultimately was suspended. He now lives in Albuquerque. He declined comment Thursday night.

Tinkler: "Did you on your own take steps to determine whether there were other victims?"

Sanchez: "No sir, I did not."

Tinkler: "During that period of time, did you ever personally ask Father Griego if there were other victims?"

Sanchez: "I did not."

Tinkler asked the archbishop if Griego ever suffered any penalty at all from the church as a result of this misconduct.

Sanchez: "Well, I think the penalty of resigning from his parish and knowing that he would not ever again be pastor again in the archdiocese, that is a strong penalty."

Sanchez testified that he had no inclination to notify police or the District Attorney's Office.

"That was not my concern. I just did not have that in mind. I felt that they (the family) would -- if they felt it necessary to press charges, you know, certainly that would have been done ..."

The Rev. Robert Smith

Smith was assigned to Holy Ghost Parish in the South Valley as an assistant to the pastor in 1976.

A former altar boy at the church alleged in a 1993 lawsuit that Smith sexually abused him between 1981 and 1983. He said the relationship ended when Smith was removed from the Holy Ghost.

According to testimony in the deposition, Smith was treated for medical and mental problems.

Tinkler: "Do you recall ever even informing the pastor of Holy Ghost Church that Father Smith was returning from treatment in a St. Louis hospital where he received electroshock treatment for manic depression?"

Sanchez: "I do not recall sharing detailed information with the pastor that way."

Several years later, according to Sanchez, a parishioner met with Sanchez, saying her son had been abused by Smith.

Tinkler: "Did she tell you -- she told you it was sexual abuse, though, didn't she?"

Sanchez: "Yes, this is what she was referring to, but she didn't describe any details.

"I think my confrontation with Father (Smith) and I can't recall the detail, would have been to repeat her words that she had shared to me with him. And to the best of my recollection, he agreed or admitted that he had been indiscreet or had done whatever she was referring to, but she did not give me any details as to what took place, not that I can recall.

"In any event, it was because of that event and the confrontation that I then asked him to go to Jemez Springs."

A lawsuit filed by the former altar boy contends the archdiocese accepted Smith into the archdiocese in 1970 -- before Sanchez became archbishop -- even though he'd been expelled from a seminary after admitting to molesting three children.

It's not clear what happened to Smith after he was treated at the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, then a center for treating pedophile priests, but attorneys for the archdiocese have said he died in 1987 in Arizona after leaving New Mexico.

Sanchez's statement
Here is the statement issued this week by former Archbishop Robert Sanchez after copies of his deposition were made public:

Our local District Court has ruled in favor of releasing to the media the deposition which I gave over three years ago about issues that occurred between 10 and 25 years ago. I am grateful to Her Honor, Judge Susan Conway, for her patient and thorough study of the petition.

Revisiting these sensitive issues will, no doubt, cause pain and disappointment in the hearts of many. I am truly sorry and wish to express my personal regret to those individuals and their families who have suffered. In addition, I also want to apologize for whatever I may have done or failed to do which may have added to your pain.

We all strive to do the best we can in difficult times. Most of the time we do our jobs well. But on some occasions, in spite of our best intentions and efforts, we fall short.

Perhaps if I had the benefit of our current understanding of pedophilia I might have made better decisions. In any event, I acknowledge my own weaknesses and shortcomings and ask your understanding and forgiveness. In turn, I promise to continue to pray and to invoke God's blessings on all the people of our beloved New Mexico.

As we count the days until the great Jubilee of the Year 2000, more and more it has become my desire and prayer that forgiveness and reconciliation become part of our daily lives. I hope that those who have been hurt can find a place of peace in forgiveness and reconciliation. This was the spirit of the Hebrews of old in their lives before God. May this same Spirit heal and transform our lives as we approach the Jubilee year. God Bless us all!


•Text from October 1994 deposition of Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez (3-20-98)



• Judge: 139 Passages Private in Archbishop's Testimony (2-25-98)
Public release of large portions of a deposition given by former Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez in October 1994 moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when state District Judge Susan Conway informed attorneys she had finished reviewing four volumes of the ex-archbishop's testimony.

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 1998
Judge: 139 Passages Private in Archbishop's Testimony
By Bruce Daniels
Journal Staff Writer

Public release of large portions of a deposition given by former Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez in October 1994 moved a step closer to reality Tuesday when state District Judge Susan Conway informed attorneys she had finished reviewing four volumes of the ex-archbishop's testimony.

Conway, in a letter dated Tuesday, told attorneys for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Sanchez as well as media attorneys who sought release of the documents that she had identified some 139 passages that cannot be disclosed.

Those include "matters not of legitimate public interest and names of previously undisclosed clergy, victims, alleged victims and family members," she wrote.

Some names now being kept private by the judge could be made public if attorneys can show those individuals have previously been identified.

Conway made a similar review of Sanchez's January 1994 deposition testimony before she ordered the bulk of the documents released to the public.

After appeals by church and the former archbishop's attorneys were turned down, those documents were released in September 1996.

It was learned that Sanchez had given an even longer deposition later in 1994 to attorneys in since-settled lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs who alleged they were sexually abused by priests.

Media attorneys then sought the release of the later documents.

Sanchez resigned as archbishop in early 1993 in the wake of a CBS "60 Minutes" piece in which three women alleged Sanchez engaged in sexual misconduct with them when they were teen-agers.


Former Archbishop Living in Minnesota (11-5-97)
Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez, who once shepherded 275,000 Catholics, has worked as a farmhand for several years on land owned by nuns near a small town in southwestern Minnesota.

Nov. 5, 1997
Former Archbishop Living in Minnesota

By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer

Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez, who once shepherded 275,000 Catholics, has worked as a farmhand for several years on land owned by nuns near a small town in southwestern Minnesota.

Sanchez, who resigned in 1993 after revelations of his sexual relationships with women, is living near Jackson in a farm house belonging to the Sisters of Mercy, the former Archbishop of Santa Fe's attorney said Tuesday.

Albuquerque attorney Richard Winterbottom said Sanchez has made the farming community of 3,500 people his home "for several years." He said Sanchez's rural lifestyle is an "exceedingly quiet, pastoral, contemplative existence."

Winterbottom, who spoke to Sanchez a few days ago, said he didn't know if he is going to stay there.

Sanchez's name was in the news last month when he led a retreat for priests in Tucson, Ariz. Prior to that, Sanchez's whereabouts have not been public knowledge since 1995, when church officials said he visited relatives in New Mexico.

Winterbottom said the Roman Catholic Church hasn't hidden Sanchez away and he isn't in Minnesota "because there is something to fear from the rest of the world. That's not the case at all."

He said Sanchez chose to live about 180 miles southwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul, "working on the farm, helping the sisters with their farm and their community ... servicing the spiritual needs for those who call on him."

The Sisters of Mercy operate a medical clinic in Jackson and own two farms a few miles outside of town, said Scott Beckel, who runs a body shop and is their neighbor.

Beckel said the nuns live on one farm and have a guest house on the other, about a mile down county road 14. Sanchez lives by himself in the guest house.

The nuns grow corn, soybeans, hay and own livestock, said Beckel, who didn't know that the priest was a farm worker until the Journal telephone interview.

"I've probably seen him," Beckel said of Sanchez. "I've probably talked to him. But I've never seen anyone out of the ordinary."

Sanchez's resignation climaxed several years of controversy regarding New Mexico's pedophile priest problem, which rocked the archdiocese during the 1990s.

During his watch, more than 160 sexual abuse claims were brought against priests in the archdiocese.

Winterbottom said events surrounding Sanchez's resignation were exceedingly troublesome to the priest, who wanted to take time to think and assess his position in the church, "but perhaps more importantly, who he is in the world."

Sanchez has lived in the Midwest since 1993, said Winterbottom, who added his client found the farm to be a private place for quiet time and for doing some soul searching.

"He had been profiting by it in an inner sense," he said.

Officials of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe did not want to comment on Sanchez, communications director Mary Ryland said Tuesday.

Monsignor Doug Raun, board president of Archdiocese Priest Relief Fund, said Tuesday that Sanchez lives on a pension from the fund. The money comes from 21/2 percent of collections taken weekly at local churches, according to Raun, pastor of St. Thomas in Rio Rancho.

He said 44 priests, including Sanchez, receive monthly checks.

"The typical pension for a priest in our diocese runs around $1,300 a month," he said. Health insurance was added recently.


Vatican Probes Priest Ousters (7-4-97)
A Vatican investigation is under way to determine if U.S. Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, acted fairly in dismissing priests accused of sexual abuse.

July 4, 1997
Vatican Probes Priest Ousters
Santa Fe Archdiocese Dismissed 21 on Sexual Abuse Charges

By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer

A Vatican investigation is under way to determine if U.S. Catholic dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, acted fairly in dismissing priests accused of sexual abuse.

Catholic officials in Rome and U.S. bishops have disagreed over when and how a priest charged with sexual abuse should be removed from the ministry. The Vatican recently began its probe after a number of American priests protested they were wrongly accused.

Currently, church law allows the removal of a priest through a diocese's administrative process or a more formal judicial procedure that includes appeals. The latter resembles the U.S. criminal justice system.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has removed 21 priests from the ministry in recent years because of sexual abuse charges. The archbishop used the administrative process in all but one case, Sister Nancy Kazik, vice chancellor of the archdiocese, said Thursday.

Kazik said the lone judicial case recently was completed and the Vatican ruled in favor of the archdiocese. But she said she couldn't comment further on the case.

"We believe we've done everything fairly and properly," Kazik said.

Of the 21 priests relieved of their duties, 17 are still alive, according to the archdiocese. Kazik said she didn't think any of the New Mexico priests were involved in filing written protests to the Vatican, where the pope resides.

A number of U.S. priests who claim they were wrongly removed from the ministry have filed complaints, according to the Vatican.

In the past 15 years, an estimated 800 of the 50,000 U.S. priests have been accused of molesting children.

Many of the archdiocese priests who were relieved of their duties had been accused of molesting minors. Some cases went back as far as 30 years, Kazik said.

Both former Archbishop Robert Sanchez and current Archbishop Michael Sheehan used administrative procedures in removing priests, she said.

Sanchez was a beloved spiritual leader of the archdiocese's 275,000 Catholics for nearly two decades. He admitted in a deposition made public last year that he kept the lid on sex-abuse charges to prevent a church scandal. But his own sexual relationships with women, also contained in the deposition, eventually forced him to resign.

Monsignor Joseph Pepe, an archdiocese expert on church law, said the administrative process allows a bishop and two consulting priests to weigh the evidence against an accused priest and "to address the situation immediately."

The judicial process is much more involved, using three judges who are priests, and often takes years to resolve a case, Pepe said.

"It's a very, very complicated system," he said. "The judicial system has all kinds of appeals and reviews."

Pepe said the bishop determines which procedure is used.

Kazik said the archdiocese, as well as other dioceses, were asked to submit their sexual misconduct policies and procedures at last month's National Conference of Bishops in Kansas City, Mo. The documents were forwarded to Rome.

The archdiocese hasn't received word from Rome on its policy, she said, adding that Vatican reviews take time.

"We always have been concerned about the seriousness of the matter," Kazik said.

"We have been conscious of (priests') rights and tried to protect them. Also, we have to protect others. If the victims come forward, we have to be conscious of their needs as well. And for that reason, the steps that have been taken were taken."

Mary Ryland, archdiocese communications director, said Sheehan was out of state Thursday and unavailable for comment.

U.S. bishops have said they are glad Rome is addressing the problem of priests molesting minors, but fear the Vatican will try to tie their hands in responding to sexual abuse complaints.

Nicholas Cafardi, dean of Duquesne University Law School, said the nation's dioceses have struggled to address the problem with sensitivity.

"That has only happened after an awful lot of real pain," he said. "I would hope that Rome isn't convinced that we need to revisit that."

The archdiocese has taken a similar stance.

"I don't want to sound like a broken record on this, but we're concerned about bringing about healing and reconciliation," Kazik said. "This has been painful for everybody, even people in the pew. The whole church has suffered from this."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Attorneys: Keep Sanchez Testimony Quiet (6-21-97)
Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and former Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez have asked a judge to ignore or discount four affidavits filed recently by KOB-TV seeking release of Sanchez's October 1994 deposition testimony.

June 21, 1997
Attorneys: Keep Sanchez Testimony Quiet
TV Station-Church Legal Battle Persists

By Bruce Daniels
Journal Staff Writer

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and former Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez have asked a judge to ignore or discount four affidavits filed recently by KOB-TV seeking release of Sanchez's October 1994 deposition testimony.

A motion filed in state District Court on June 13 is the latest move in an ongoing legal chess match between media and church attorneys over whether more of the former archbishop's sworn testimony in several underlying priest sex-abuse lawsuits should be made public.

KOB-TV has until Monday to respond, and state District Judge Susan Conway has said she will defer any final ruling until after that date.

Meanwhile, attorneys Robert H. Clark for the archdiocese and Richard Winterbottom for Sanchez have asked Conway to discount affidavits from two former sex-abuse plaintiffs who say they'd release copies of Sanchez's October 1994 testimony if the judge's protective order were lifted.

The two -- Raymond Arellano and Floyd Arellano -- settled separate lawsuits against the church several months before Sanchez gave a second lengthy deposition to plaintiffs' lawyers, Clark and Winterbottom said.

Because the Arellanos settled their claims before the October deposition, Clark and Winterbottom maintain the two have no "standing" as a matter of law to seek its release.

Conway earlier approved the release of more than 700 edited pages of the former archbishop's January 1994 deposition taken in connection with numerous suits alleging clerical sex-abuse.

But Conway in February turned down motions by the Albuquerque Journal and the New Mexico Tribune Co. to unseal a deposition given over several days in October 1994.

One reason she gave at the time was that Santa Fe attorney Merit Bennett had withdrawn his earlier agreement to release deposition testimony to the media.

KOB-TV then filed a motion to enter the case, saying it had a "John Doe" plaintiff who was willing to release his copy of the October deposition.

But Conway ruled after a hearing on May 12 she wouldn't accept a "John Doe" affidavit but would consider it if the affiant identified himself.

KOB-TV's attorney Geoffrey Rieder then filed a flurry of affidavits that appeared to meet Conway's concerns -- including the Arrellanos' and another one submitted by Bennett's Santa Fe law partner, Stephen Tinkler.

But Tinkler's affidavit should also be discounted, Clark and Winterbottom said, because -- unlike Bennett -- he hasn't "presumptively expressed the wishes of his clients to release the deposition" and isn't a party to the case.

KOB-TV's fourth affidavit was filed by Jeff Salazar, whom Clark and Winterbottom identify in their motion as the original "John Doe" plaintiff.

Salazar, Clark and Winterbottom concede, was a party to the case at the time Sanchez gave his deposition in October 1994. He has since settled his suit.

But it's "unknown," they said, whether any of the other approximately 30 plaintiffs would want the deposition testimony released "out of a concern for their own privacy or for other reasons."


• Church 'Drained' by Lawsuits (12-31-96)
Archbishop Michael Sheehan says that settling more than 165 sex abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe over the past few years has drained the New Mexico church.

Dec. 31, 1996
Church 'Drained' by Lawsuits

The Associated Press

SANTA FE -- Archbishop Michael Sheehan says that settling more than 165 sex abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe over the past few years has drained the New Mexico church.

"We have been drained and devastated financially by lawsuits and claims," said Sheehan, who replaced Archbishop Robert Sanchez in 1993 amid reports of sexual abuse in the archdiocese.

But Sheehan said he's optimistic about the future of the church.

"In spite of the troubles of the past, God is with us. We are a people of hope," he said.

Since Sheehan took over, 20 priests have been removed from the ministry and more than 165 cases of sexual abuse of children by priests have been settled. About 25 of those cases were settled this year.

The archbishop said only a few claims remain unresolved.

To pay for the settlements, Sheehan borrowed from parishes' savings accounts and sold property, including the Dominican Retreat in Albuquerque.

Although settlement amounts have not been disclosed, a 1993 letter to parishes said it cost more than $50 million to settle more than 40 cases.

The archdiocese still maintains a $32 million annual budget.

In a deposition released in September, Sanchez said he had known about cases of abuse and that he considered them a moral failing of priests but not a crime.

Although it's been a tough year for the archdiocese, Sheehan said the troubles that brought him to New Mexico are subsiding.

"We are a stronger, more purified church and perhaps a humbler church," Sheehan said.

There are 25 seminarians in New Mexico this year, up from five three years ago. And the 285,000-member archdiocese is involved in a new program to renew faith and preparations for the 400th anniversary of Catholicism in New Mexico.


• Sanchez Wrote of Abuse in '90 Memo (9-21-96)
Former Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez "confronted" the Rev. Vincent Lipinski in early 1990 about anonymous sexual-misconduct allegations concerning an Albuquerque youth, according to Sanchez's handwritten memo of the meeting.

September 23, 1996
Sanchez Wrote Of Abuse In '90 Memo
Says He Believed Priest's Denial
By Bruce Daniels
Journal Staff Writer

Former Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez "confronted" the Rev. Vincent Lipinski in early 1990 about anonymous sexual-misconduct allegations concerning an Albuquerque youth, according to Sanchez's own handwritten memo of the meeting.

But according to the four-page memo and deposition testimony on file in a just-settled civil suit against Lipinski and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Sanchez believed Lipinski's denials and never followed up the investigation.

A little more than two years later, Lipinski was forced to resign as pastor of St. Anthony's Church in Questa. He pleaded guilty to two sex-abuse counts after getting a 14-year-old boy from his parish drunk and forcing him to submit to oral sex.

The memo -- according to testimony in the court record -- is one of two reports of alleged sexual abuse by priests that Sanchez committed to writing in his 19 years as archbishop.

The other, he told plaintiffs' lawyers at a March 25, 1996, deposition, involved "two women who came to speak to me about their adult son and a priest." The deposition didn't make the women's relationships to the man clear.

The deposition is one of three taken in a civil lawsuit filed by lawyers Leon Taylor and Mel B. O'Reilly on behalf of the Questa boy's parents. The suit was settled this week.

A deposition of Sanchez in another priest sex-abuse case, long sought by the media over church objections, was released this week.

Sanchez's memo on the earlier Lipinski allegations was written after Feb. 2, 1990, but the former archbishop couldn't pinpoint the date.

It summarizes his meeting on Jan. 29, 1990, with Lipinski and the Rev. Richard Olona, now chancellor of the archdiocese and Lipinski's former vocation director.

The subject was an allegation that Lipinski got a young volunteer worker drunk and sexually molested him while serving at Albuquerque's Our Lady of Fatima Church.

It was, according to the memo, the second time the allegation had surfaced.

In the early summer of 1989, Sanchez wrote, the Rev. Jerome Martinez passed on an allegation that Lipinski had gotten "a volunteer for youth ministry" drunk and the young man "awoke in the morning in a compromising situation (in bed with the priest at the rectory)."

But, Sanchez wrote, "since the allegation was very informal and not in writing," he directed Martinez to question Lipinski in private.

"Because of the informality of the allegation the archbishop did not deem it necessary to go further," said Sanchez, writing of himself.

At the Jan. 29 meeting, held after the allegation resurfaced, Lipinski denied any knowledge of the alleged incident, denied he knew the youth, and said the church never even had a youth director. And, Lipinski told Sanchez and Olona, "I would never compromise my priesthood or the reputation of the church" and "I only go out with other priests."

Sanchez said he was "direct with (Lipinski) and informed him of the seriousness of the allegation and the possibility of civil action," also warning Lipinski he "might ultimately be asked to take a polygraph test."

Lipinski "understood, but never changed his reply," Sanchez said.

According to the memo, Lipinski "was calm, cooperative and patient" during the one-hour meeting.

"I was impressed with his manner and tended to believe his statements," wrote Sanchez, who told Lipinski he would report the conversation to "our attorney" and to the Rev. Ric Barela, to whom the allegation was also reported.

Four days later, Lipinski called Sanchez, who told him of his conversations with the attorney and Barela.

"He was pleased," Sanchez wrote.

Two years later, on Oct. 2, 1992, Lipinski gave the Questa boy two glasses of Jack Daniel's to drink and, while the boy was confused and drunk, performed oral sex on him, according to the civil complaint.

The boy went home and told his parents, who reported Lipinski to police.

Lipinski pleaded guilty in June 1993 to third-degree criminal sexual penetration and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, for which he was sentenced in August 1993 to five years of supervised probation.

Attorney Clifford M. McIntyre asked Sanchez at the deposition why he never followed up on the earlier Lipinski allegations.

"After Father Lipinski denied these facts in my presence, I called the priest back again and ... told him this is what Father Lipinski had said, please share this with whomever has called you so that the information might be given to them," Sanchez said, according to the deposition transcript.

"If they care to do more, they're going to have to come in or at least provide some details," Sanchez said in the deposition.

McIntyre asked Sanchez, if the Albuquerque case had been more fully investigated, would the Questa incident have occurred.

Sanchez said, "You know, we can all go back and say I wish I had done this better or that better. But I don't know. I don't know what causes actions of this nature to happen. I wish it had never happened to begin with; I can assure you of that."


Archdiocese Settles Sexual Abuse Suit (9-20-96)
A longstanding civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Rev. Vincent Lipinski that was scheduled to go to trial in October was swiftly settled for an undisclosed amount.

An article in Friday's Journal on the settlement of a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Rev. Vincent Lipinski should have said state District Judge Gerald Cole ruled Monday in favor of the plaintiffs on the first of six motions by the archdiocese to exclude certain testimony from trial. A settlement was reached after the decision. The error was made in reporting.

Archdiocese Settles Sexual Abuse Suit
Ex-Questa Priest's Case Was Nearing
September 20, 1996
By Bruce Daniels
Journal Staff Writer

A longstanding civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and the Rev. Vincent Lipinski that was scheduled to go to trial in October was swiftly settled this week for an undisclosed amount.

Lipinski, the former Questa pastor who pleaded guilty to two sex-abuse counts in June 1993, was sued later that year by the parents of the then-14-year-old boy named as a victim in the criminal case.

Lipinski, who is now 35, was sentenced in August 1993 to five years supervised probation after pleading guilty to third-degree criminal sexual penetration and contributing to the delinquency of minor.

He was accused of getting the boy drunk and performing oral sex on him against his will in October 1992.

According to news accounts of the criminal case, the boy went home and told his parents what happened immediately after the event.

One of the unusual aspects of this case -- distinguishing it from the dozens of lawsuits filed since the groundbreaking priest-abuse case was filed in August 1991 -- is that it alleges a very recent case of abuse.

Most other claims date back to the '70s and '80s, some even earlier, and the plaintiffs have generally alleged that their memory of the abuse was repressed or kept secret.

The lawsuit, originally filed as a "John Doe" suit by plaintiffs' attorneys Leon Taylor and Mel B. O'Reilly, also initially included an unusual allegation of "racketeering."

But that count and two others were dismissed in June 1994 by state District Judge Gerald Cole.

By the time Cole was set to deal with a flurry of pre-trial motions this week, there were two counts left: one accusing Lipinski of sexual molestation, assault and battery, and one alleging the archdiocese was negligent in its screening, training, supervision, hiring and retention of the priest.

According to O'Reilly, Cole ruled Monday in the defendants' favor on the first of six motions by the archdiocese to exclude certain testimony from trial, which was to begin Oct. 21.

Ten minutes after the ruling, the archdiocese offered to settle the case, O'Reilly said.

O'Reilly said this week he got involved in the case because he is a Roman Catholic.

"It became for me a method of trying to help the church see that it really needs to help its members," O'Reilly said.

"It showed me how sorely this church needs reform," he said.

Meanwhile, archdiocese attorney Karen Kennedy, who said she couldn't disclose terms of the settlement, said the church has now resolved the "vast majority" of sex-abuse claims against it.

"I think we have resolved around 150," including those claims that have settled without a lawsuit, she said.

"There are a few still out there," she said.

"I think it's great that the case is resolved, because this is one I thought without question would go to trial," said Lipinski's lawyer, Ron Koch. "I'm sure Father Lipinski is relieved it's over."


•Sanchez Kept Abuse Quiet (9-19-96)
Archbishop Robert Sanchez shielded pedophile priests while wrestling with his own demons over his affairs with women.

Sanchez Kept Abuse Quiet
He shielded pedophile priests while wrestling with his own demons over his affairs with women

September 19, 1996
By Bruce Daniels
Journal Staff Writer

Archbishop Robert Sanchez was the beloved spiritual leader of 275,000 Roman Catholics in New Mexico for nearly two decades. A native son, he was an intelligent, thoughtful man who exuded strength and humility.

He was the seemingly perfect pastor.

But testimony made public Wednesday shows he also was a man with two dark secrets: growing allegations of child sex abuse by priests in the archdiocese and his own affairs with women.

Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez, shown here in 1991, said in a just-unsealed 1994 deposition that a "lack of the spiritual environment" affected his life and his decisions involving sexual-abuse allegations against Catholic priests.

He kept the lid on the sex abuse charges as long as he could, fearing they would plunge parishes into "scandal" and "division." His own sexual relationships were his private shame.

In the end, there were no secrets. Only lawsuits, pain, turmoil and an archbishop who resigned in disgrace.

Sanchez described his thoughts in a deposition in which he was forced to answer questions, under oath, from lawyers for plaintiffs suing the church over the alleged sexual abuse by priests.

He said he didn't believe -- in 1981, at least -- that child molestation was a crime that had to be reported.

"I considered (child molestation) to be a moral infraction of (a priest's) own life, and it was an offense against a child," he said in the heavily edited 760-page transcript unsealed when the New Mexico Supreme Court refused to hear further appeals to block its release.

Sanchez also was questioned about his own sexual activities as a priest and as archbishop.
In an interview on the television show "60 Minutes" in March 1993, three women said Sanchez took advantage of them sexually when they were teen-agers.

The interview, seen by an estimated 250,000 New Mexicans and upward of 30 million U.S. viewers, came only a few weeks before Sanchez announced his resignation as archbishop.

In the deposition, Sanchez admitted he had sexual contact with women for at least 18 years before resigning as archbishop.

He said his own sexual contact with women became "more frequent" after he was named archbishop.

He said he "failed against my promise of chastity" in part because he failed to maintain a "spiritual support structure" and wasn't "faithful" in his prayer life.

By neglecting his own spiritual practices, he said, he opened himself to "a permissive world ... a world that continually promotes sexuality," which he said is "like an environment becoming polluted."

Everyone is affected by it, he said.

"Unless you're very keen to what's occurring and are very conscious of it, it can begin to cloud your thinking, begin to cloud your judgment and eventually affect your actions."

During questioning about sexual abuse allegations against priests, Sanchez said he was unaware of a statute requiring the reporting of suspected child molestation, saying, "I'm not too certain how many people were aware of it in the '70s. It had not become a major issue among the legal profession or even among the teaching profession, people dealing with children."

Sanchez admitted that in earlier deposition testimony given to plaintiffs' attorney Bruce Pasternack that he recalled having dealt with just "four or five" allegations of abuse by priests.

But during the four-day deposition taken at a secret location in Albuquerque in January 1994, he discussed some 20 names of accused priests with Pasternack.

"The list that we dealt with today is actually quite extensive," Sanchez said. "Many I said yes to; many I said no to. But it seems to me that many of these people whose names that were included on there actually were not brought to my attention as the archbishop but have since surfaced during all of these investigations that have been taking place in the last couple of years."

The first of more than 100 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests was filed in 1991. Nearly 150 claims -- including lawsuits -- have been settled by the archdiocese to date, church officials have said.

Sanchez said he knew of allegations of abuse as early as 1976, two years after being named archbishop.

But he said he wasn't aware of widespread sex abuse by priests "until really the late '80s ... when it began to sort of mushroom as an issue and a concern." Before that, he said, "it simply wasn't a topic of major concern."

During the 1960s and 1970s, Sanchez said, priests having sex with children "wasn't really discussed. It wasn't a common issue. The big issue was priests leaving the priesthood for marriage."

Sanchez told Pasternack, who questioned him about a dozen cases occurring before 1991, that if "it was even one priest who is breaking his promise of living out a chaste life, that would be one too many."

The "spiritual illness" of child abuse by priests, he said, "wasn't like a plague had suddenly descended upon the Archdiocese of Santa Fe at one time. It was people at different times being alleged to have broken their promise of celibacy or the promise of chastity."
Pasternack said, "Forgive me again, but there would be one more that we should really add to that list that you knew of before August of '91 ... Namely yourself?"

Sanchez said yes.

Details of Sanchez's own sexual activities were edited out of the transcript by state District Judge Susan Conway to protect his privacy rights and those of his partners.

But he told of "embraces" and "kisses" with a series of women, identified in the transcripts as "Ms. A" through "Ms. K" -- mostly women in their 20s.

He denied ever having fathered a child, as was alleged at the end of the "60 Minutes" broadcast that drove him to resign as archbishop.

Asked why he never told parishioners why a priest might have been transferred or sent to treatment for sex abuse, Sanchez said, "the Church has always expressed sensitivity to the privacy of all people, the privacy of individuals, so that no one is being falsely accused or being made objects of suspicion of others within a parish, so that there is no division of that parish."

Asked whether he could have done better as archbishop in dealing with sexual abuse allegations, Sanchez said, "I was inexperienced with pedophilia. I did not know what allegations entailed. I was unaware of any extensive and continued damage that a child might suffer from that.

"I acted according to what I knew and what I thought was best. The information that we have now would lead me to take a different course of action, so as to offer greater protection to our children, because that is the greatest concern of our Church -- is the common good of the people whom we serve," he said.

"Today, with knowledge that I have, I would want to do things more effectively, more thoroughly, and perhaps with greater continual follow-up, so that all children would be protected," he said.
Pasternack asked him, hypothetically, "if some grown man had sexually molested one of your nieces when they were 10 years old, what would your reaction to that have been?"

Sanchez said, "I would have been very angry, very upset, concerned for her, and making certain that she would be able to adjust after the event had occurred, that she could recapture her -- the natural life that she had been living prior to the event that we're referring to."

But, Pasternack persisted, "Even as a Godly man and a holy man, which we all know you are, wouldn't you have just wanted to kill the guy?"

Sanchez said, "I would have been very angry, very upset. I don't think I would have taken it to that point."


Here are excerpts from the 1994 deposition of former Archbishop Robert Sanchez, taken during lawsuits against the Catholic Church alleging sexual abuse by priests:

"In 1981, I did not understand (the sexual molestation of a child) to be a crime. I considered it to be a moral infraction of (a priest's) own life, and it was an offense against a child."

"I was -- I felt no obligation (to report allegations of sexual molestation to the authorities) inasmuch as I was unaware of any obligation ..."

"I did not bring (a certain abuse) case to the attention of the authorities because this occurred in 1981, and I certainly had no idea that I had any obligation to bring that type of an offense against a person to the authorities' attention. ... I just felt that it was not something that had to be brought to the attention of authorities. I took the action that I took against the gentleman by removing him from the place of assignment and removed him from the situation that might bring harm to others. That was serious action against that man and against his position. And we did our best to assure the families that were there that their children would no longer be in harm, they need not be afraid, and to bring some type of consolation and comfort to them. I did not realize that there was any legal obligation to report this to the authorities."

"... it was not our policy that we had to keep this within the Church. We never insisted that way. If any parent felt that they wanted to go to civil authorities, they had a right to go to civil authorities."
''I feel I did the best I could. I wish I had known more about it. I wish that the awareness of pedophilia as we know it today had been known to all of us at that time, certainly to me, so that I could have done a better job and more effective one in helping families, children, and protecting others."
When asked if after he became archbishop, he realized there were allegations of priests having sex with children, Sanchez responded:

"Not as a major issue, not until really the late '80s. That is when it began to sort of mushroom as an issue and a concern. ..."

"Like I just said, we didn't really discuss those issues (priests involved in sexual activities). That was not an object of discussion among the bishops. When the issue surfaced in the late '80s, it was strictly on pedophilia, not on simple, 'How are our priests behaving? What's happening among priests today?'..."

"I was of the opinion, as a priest in the 1960s, that there were many priests who were not honoring their promise of celibacy or chastity, due to the fact that many were leaving the priesthood."

"I'm saying that given human nature, the vow of chastity or just the life -- a chaste life for any individual will be fraught with difficulties throughout their life because of human nature, just as the promise or the virtue of honesty is difficult throughout a person's life. But we're obliged to live those virtues as perfectly as we can."

"No, sir, I have never had any children. Now, I want to repeat that, so that it's very clear. I have never had any children."

When asked what his reaction would have been if a grown man had sexually molested one of his nieces when they were 10 years old, Sanchez responded:

"I would have been very angry, very upset, concerned for her, and making certain that she would be able to adjust after the event had occurred, that she could recapture her -- the natural life that she had been living prior to the event that we're referring to."

When asked if he felt an obligation to help parishioners or children once he learned of allegations of priests having sex with them, Sanchez responded:

"Yes. I certainly felt within my own heart a concern for them. I wasn't aware totally of what damage could be suffered from a person who has been abused. I wasn't aware of that in the '70s. I'm only becoming more and more aware of it today as all our sciences increase. But our concern was there for the people to see that whatever need that they may have expressed would be met. The first thing, of course, was to remove the priest who would have been alleged to have done something wrong, to remove him from the situation so that there would not be that fear any longer."


• Statements Spark Anger, Skepticism (9-19-96)

The reactions following the release of former Archbishop Robert Sanchez's deposition ranged from anger to hopes for reconciliation.

Statements Spark Anger, Skepticism

September 19, 1996
By Paul Logan
Journal Staff Writer

The mother of two boys allegedly sexually abused by a priest says former Archbishop Robert Sanchez handled the issue of pedophile priests the way Richard Nixon handled Watergate.

Another victim, who claimed she was sexually abused by a priest as a teen-ager, spoke of reconciliation during a Mass at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Wednesday -- even though she said she still feels "anger and outrage."

The reactions followed the state Supreme Court's refusal on Tuesday to consider a request from Sanchez and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to block release of a deposition Sanchez gave in 1994 during lawsuits against the church alleging sex abuse by priests.

The Albuquerque Journal and others had sought to make the document public.

District Judge Susan Conway agreed, but removed some material for privacy considerations. The Court of Appeals affirmed her decision.

Revelations in the court documents released Wednesday include the former archbishop's contention that incidents of child sex abuse by priests were kept secret because he "did not understand that to be a crime."

Sanchez also testified that he violated his vow of celibacy numerous times before and after he became archbishop.


Marlene Debrey-Nowak, whose adolescent sons allegedly were molested by an Albuquerque priest, said she was surprised that Sanchez said he didn't know child sexual abuse was a crime.

"He seems to be a charismatic spiritual leader, and he didn't know what was going on?" Debrey-Nowak said. "It's hard for me to understand how he arrives at that statement. It appears to be a Nixonlike cover-up. How could he not know?"

Debrey-Nowak said a brief statement issued by Sanchez on Wednesday failed to mention any regret for what he did or didn't do when he was in charge of the archdiocese of approximately 275,000 Roman Catholics in northern and central New Mexico.

"There was no remorse," she said. "That's exactly how Mr. Nixon behaved."

A woman who claimed she was a victim of an abusive priest while in high school asked about 50 Catholics at the Mass to pray for her, Sanchez, other victims and pedophile priests. Afterward, outside the

Downtown Albuquerque church, the 44-year-old declined to talk about her experience with abuse.

"I'm a victim, a survivor and I love the church," said the woman, standing in the rain.

"Jesus wants us to have a forgiving attitude," she said, but added that justice must be served.

The woman said she is still "angry and outraged" about what has happened to herself and others, "but I have a lot of compassion for (Sanchez)."

Sheila Scanlon, a lifelong Catholic, also attended the Mass. Scanlon, 60, said she didn't think the public will be surprised by the latest revelations. She said she always thought Sanchez didn't take action against pedophile priests because of his own misconduct.

"His sin is not being supportive to those families who came to him," Scanlon said, referring to the victims of priests' sexual abuse. "He's going to have to deal with that for a lifetime."

Scanlon, a social worker, said she was pleased that the facts are finally out in the open and people are talking about the church's pedophile problems because "fresh air is a wonderful healer."

However, she was upset with Sanchez's claim that he didn't know sexual molestation was a crime.

"I think common sense tells anyone that it's a crime ... that's absurd," she said. "He's an intelligent man."

Scanlon said the church needs to talk about the celibacy issue, which "was not handed down in Scripture but was man-made. Is it realistic?"

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan's office limited its reaction to the court's decision to the following statement:

"The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has taken the position that out-of-court testimony by deposition has historically been a private matter between the litigants, and hence has objected to the media's attempts to obtain the deposition of Archbishop Robert Sanchez, which was taken under a court-issued protective order. The Court of Appeals has recently ruled that the deposition transcript, as redacted by District Judge Susan Conway, is to be released, and the archdiocese will of course comply with that decision.

"The archdiocese, in its efforts toward healing and reconciliation, has been able to resolve the vast majority of the claims brought to it and diligently continues this process. The archdiocese has spent in excess of $1 million in counseling expenses."

A Gallup Diocese spokesman for Bishop Donald Pelotte said the bishop hasn't seen the deposition so he "can't form an opinion on something he doesn't have."

Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of the Las Cruces Diocese did not answer a request for comment.

Journal attorney Bill Dixon called the court's decision "a major victory for openness in the judicial system." Dixon and his partner, Kip Purcell, had sought disclosure of the former archbishop's deposition for more than two years along with KOB-TV and the Albuquerque Tribune.

Dixon said the information released from the deposition proved Conway "properly exercised her discretion to allow the information involving the public interest to be disclosed so that the public can evaluate the performance of the archdiocese and the archbishop in dealing with the problem of priest pedophilia within the Catholic Church."


• Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez's statement (9-19-96)
Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez said he chose to remain silent on the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church "out of respect for the rights of individuals to privacy."

Sanchez's statement

Here is the statement issued Wednesday by former Archbishop Robert Sanchez after copies of his deposition were made public:

"The New Mexico Court of Appeals has decided to release to news media portions of a deposition I gave to attorneys in several lawsuits brought against the Catholic Church. I had appealed to the court systems of the State of New Mexico in an effort to maintain the privacy of that deposition. Not only are depositions private matters between the parties, but my deposition was given under a specific court order which created an additional expectation of privacy. I appreciate the thoughtful consideration our judiciary has given to the delicate issues surrounding the privacy of all participants in the civil lawsuits and the media's interest in matters of public concern.

"I have always sought to protect the privacy of those who have desired it. Out of respect for the rights of individuals to privacy, I have chosen not to speak out publicly. If my silence has been misleading or has given offense, I ask your forgiveness.

"I would like to use this occasion to express sincere thanks to the countless number of generous people who not only welcomed my friendship in their lives but who willingly volunteered to work with me and our church to help those who are in need. So many of you have written to me with great understanding and offers of friendship. I am heartened to hear of your strong faith and loyalty and support of Archbishop Sheehan. I thank you and tell you what a privilege it was to be chosen to serve you. I will cherish those memories forever. God bless you all."

• Text from January 1994 deposition of Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez (9-19-96)