Former N.M. Priest Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The Associated Press, carried in Albuquerque Journal [New Mexico]
February 23, 2006

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe said Thursday a former Raton priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor has been arrested.

Wayne Pribble, the victim's assistance coordinator for the Albuquerque-based Roman Catholic archdiocese, said the FBI informed the archdiocese that the Rev. George Silva had been arrested Thursday afternoon in Raton.

FBI spokesman Bill Elwell confirmed that the priest was arrested but couldn't comment further. The arrest followed an indictment issued Wednesday by a grand jury, but a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Albuquerque said the document was not immediately available.

Silva had been placed on restricted status last year after the archdiocese's internal investigation found "credible evidence" to support the allegation.

Restricted status means he is forbidden to participate in any public ministry, cannot wear clerical attire and cannot present himself publicly as a priest, Pribble said.

"The archdiocese of Santa Fe has a zero tolerance policy. ... The archbishop has a policy of participating fully with the conduct of investigations," Pribble said.

The archdiocese initially placed Silva on leave last June and barred him from public ministry when officials were told of the allegation.

Archbishop Michael Sheehan informed parishioners of St. Patrick and St. Joseph parishes in Raton last October after Silva was placed on restricted status, the archdiocese said.


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