Former New Mexico Priest Agrees to Plea Deal

The Associated Press, carried in
June 12, 2006

Albuquerque --A former Raton priest who studied in Connecticut pleaded guilty Monday as part of a deal with prosecutors in a sexual misconduct case.

A federal grand jury in Albuquerque had indicted the Rev. George Silva, 73, in February on four counts alleging he transported a 14-year-old boy from New Mexico to France and Portugal for illicit sexual activity last year.

Silva pleaded guilty to one count as part of the deal. He will remain in custody at a halfway house until he is sentenced; he faces at least five years' in prison.

The allegations were first reported to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santa Fe in June 2005.

The archdiocese placed Silva on restricted status after an internal investigation found "credible evidence" to support the allegations. Parishioners of St. Patrick and St. Joseph parishes in Raton were informed last October.

Silva underwent treatment at a church-sponsored facility in Ohio. When he returned in November, he told the archdiocese he had decided to leave the priesthood.

The boy and his family plan to go forward with a civil lawsuit against Silva and the archdiocese, according to their attorney, Jeffrey Trespel.

"He's been devastated by this event, and of course, so has his family," Trespel said of the boy. "This is just again the beginning of a long road. This is not the end of the road for this young man."

Silva was ordained to the priesthood in 1997 in Santa Fe. He was a Christian Brother for 17 years before his studies for the priesthood at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn. Before being assigned to Raton, he was a priest at St. Francis Xavier parish in Clayton, N.M.


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