Ex-Priest Wins Motion for Mental Exam of Ex-Altar Boy

By Tom Sanchez
Albuquerque Journal
February 9, 1995

Rape Trial to Begin at End of February

Bernalillo — A former Los Lunas parish priest charged with child sexual abuse has been granted a motion in state District Court for a psychological examination of his accuser, court records show.

Albuquerque attorney Paul Kennedy, who represents the Rev. John Esquibel, and members of the 13th Judicial District Attorney's Office met in a motion hearing Tuesday before District Judge Louis P. McDonald.

Esquibel, who was not present, requested that the complaining witness undergo an examination by a psychologist he has retained. The test is to evaluate the victim's claim that he suffers mental anguish as a result of the alleged rape.

Esquibel, 55, is charged with raping a 15-year-old altar boy in 1983.

The trial starts in Valencia County in late February with McDonald traveling to Los Lunas to preside.

"Valencia, Sandoval and Cibola counties are all under one district, that's why Judge McDonald has been assigned to the case," Kennedy said Wednesday. "I think one or two judges (in Los Lunas) recused (themselves)."

Two years ago, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe suspended Esquibel from ministry or parish work because of the allegation.

A Valencia County grand jury indicted Esquibel in October 1993 on a single count of first-degree criminal sexual penetration.

The offense is punishable by up to 18 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The indictment alleges that on or between March 1 and April 30, 1983, the priest caused a minor to engage in sexual intercourse by force or coercion, resulting in great bodily harm or great mental anguish.

In November 1993, Esquibel pleaded innocent in an arraignment before a state District Court judge in Los Lunas.

He was released to the custody of his brother, who lives in Albuquerque.


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