Sex abuser’s presence raises questions

Albuquerque Journal

Sept. 21, 2019

By Colleen Heild

The evening of Sept. 14, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Taos held a “healing Mass” for victims of clergy sexual and other abuse.

The next day, an admitted child sex abuser priest from California attended another special parish function – this time to celebrate the opening of the new proposed Benedictine monastery on the grounds of church property – just across the street from a public elementary school. Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester officiated.

More than 15 years ago, Milton Walsh, who is described as a retired priest who isn’t permitted to “present” himself as one, was indicted on charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy in Northern California in 1984. His criminal prosecution was dropped after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California law that would have extended the statute of limitations on certain sex crimes against children.

The victim, a former altar boy, eventually received an out-of-court settlement in a civil lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 2003.

Back then, the church promised to keep Walsh away from children and in “academic” settings, the victim’s lawyer told the Journal this week. In recent years, lawyers who represent victims of clergy sexual abuse and track offenders have listed Walsh’s whereabouts and his access to children as “unknown.”

Now, questions have surfaced about his presence in Taos.

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