Bishop Cantu Responds to Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Naming Las Cruces Parish
June 20, 2018
|Bishop Oscar Cantu addresses allegations of sexual battery against Rev. Ricardo Bauza, a priest in Hobbs, on Wednesday May 30, 2018, at the Las Cruces Catholic Diocese.|
The Diocese of Las Cruces responded on Wednesday to a lawsuit filed against the Diocese of El Paso alleging sexual abuse of a minor 40 years ago by Father Joaquin Resma when he was a priest at Our Lady of Health parish in Las Cruces. Resma died in 1983.
Until the creation of the Diocese of Las Cruces in 1982, the church was under the jurisdiction of the El Paso diocese. Both the diocese and the church are named in the lawsuit, filed by a Las Cruces man who is not named in the lawsuit in order to protect the accuser.
The Diocese of Las Cruces, serving Catholics in 10 New Mexico counties, is not named in the lawsuit. However, in a media release on Wednesday, Bishop Oscar Cantu pledged that "the diocese will cooperate with the legal process as needed," adding, "We hold all victims of abuse in our prayers, that they might find healing and peace."
The diocese also encouraged victims who have not yet reported their abuse to contact the diocese victims' assistance coordinator Margarita Williams at 575-523-7577 or by email at MWilliams@RCDLC.org. It stated that victims may report confidentially or have their case reported to law enforcement.