Key Dates in the Life of Robert Fortune Sanchez

Santa Fe New Mexican
January 20, 2012

1934: Born in Socorro, N.M.

1959: Ordained as priest after studying at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Santa Fe and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he earned degrees in philosophy and theology.

1974: Appointed archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to succeed Archbishop James Peter Davis. At the time, Sanchez was serving as parish priest at San Felipe de Neri Church in Albuquerque. He was the first Hispanic archbishop in the U.S. and, at the age of 40, one of the youngest.

1970s: Begins having sexual relationships with at least three women sometime after becoming archbishop.

1981: Learns about Albuquerque priest Jason Sigler having sex with a teenage parishioner. Sigler pleads guilty to criminal sexual penetration two years later. Sanchez admits in court testimony that it didn't cross his mind at the time to investigate whether there might have been other victims of Sigler, who had been a priest in the state for more than a decade.

1982: Transfers the Rev. Clive Lynn from St. Gertrude's Parish in Mora to St. Joseph's in Raton after complaints from parishioners, including accusations that the priest was having sexual relations with boys in the parish. Eight years later, the archdiocese settles a lawsuit filed by a Mora resident who said he was molested by Lynn.

1990: Confronts the Rev. Vincent Lipinski about alleged sexual misconduct with Albuquerque youth, according to a handwritten memo by Sanchez of the meeting. Sanchez says he believed Lipinski's denials. Three years later, Lipinski pleads guilty to molesting another boy in Questa and is sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.

1993: Resigns as archbishop shortly before CBS' 60 Minutes broadcasts interviews with three women who say they had sexual relationships with Sanchez 15 years earlier.

1995: Resurfaces in Albuquerque for depositions in several priest-abuse lawsuits. Sanchez's whereabouts after his resignation are a carefully guarded secret.

2012: Dies in Albuquerque at age 77.


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