My Turn

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

By Archbishop John C. Wester, Santa Fe
Posted 11/8/18

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 …

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My Turn

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

Posted

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.

– Archbishop John C. Wester

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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