Ex-Archbishop to Testify at Trial

By Susanne Burks
Albuquerque Journal
June 28, 1995

Former Archbishop Robert Sanchez will testify in the upcoming trial of a priest sex abuse lawsuit, an attorney said Tuesday.

"We will call the archbishop as a witness at this trial," Karen Kennedy, attorney for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, said at a conference with state District Judge Robert Scott.

Plaintiff's attorney Bruce Pasternack said he also wants to call Sanchez as part of his case, and Kennedy agreed to have the archbishop available at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 23.

Meanwhile, Pasternack or his partner, Neil Blake, will be allowed to depose Sanchez in Chicago.

"It looks like either my partner or I will go to Chicago on July 18 to briefly depose the archbishop," Pasternack said late Tuesday. He said the deposition will be limited to one issue that arose in the recent deposition of another priest.

The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 21. Attorneys rejected Scott's recent offer to hold a "summary jury trial" -- a sort of mock trial that lets lawyers test the strength of their cases -- to help settle the lawsuit.

The case that is about to go to trial, becoming the first to do so out of almost 100 filed, was brought in late 1993 by Dan Price, then 23, against the archdiocese, Sanchez and the Rev. Sabine Griego.

Sanchez resigned his post in 1992 and has been in seclusion since then. Parties agreed Tuesday that Sanchez was never served with the suit and will be dismissed.

Griego, former pastor of Queen of Heaven Church, has settled with Price for $1.5 million, court papers show.

Pasternack confirmed Griego is assigning to Price any claims against insurance carriers, and Ron Koch, Griego's attorney, said the agreement is almost identical to other cases that have settled with assignment of claims.

Tuesday's judge-attorney conference included discussion of handling the public and news media at the high-profile trial.

Scott said he may draw names from a fishbowl to assign limited seating to the public and will ask attorneys for news media organizations to discuss their needs.


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