Victims, advocates push for Archdiocese of Santa Fe officials to come clean

The New Mexican

By Andrew Oxford | The New Mexican Aug 26, 2017

Everyone finally believed them. At least that is how they felt.

In the days and weeks after the Catholic Diocese of Gallup in 2014 published a list naming 30 priests and a teacher who church executives said had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, Elizabeth Terrill got one phone call after another from survivors whose allegations had been met for years with denial and doubt.

With the bishop’s very public admission, some survivors believed at last that the Catholic Church and the broader community accepted their charges against men who once had been trusted and enjoyed protection from a system few others had challenged.

Terrill, the diocese’s victim assistance coordinator, recounts one caller telling her: “It feels like everyone really believes me.”

Gallup, a sprawling, rural and impoverished diocese, was doing what no other in New Mexico had. It named the priests at the center of a crisis that scarred an institution with an outsize place in the state’s culture.

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