New Mexico AG launches investigation into allegations of Catholic clergy sexual abuse
September 06, 2018
In the latest inquiry into clergy sexual abuse allegations, New Mexico's attorney general is launching an investigation and asking all three Catholic dioceses in his state for any material related to allegations of abuse by priests. It follows the scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report last month that revealed more than 300 Catholic priests in that state sexually abused more than 1,000 children over seven decades. The same report found a Pennsylvania bishop sent accused priests to New Mexico for treatment.
Attorney General Hector Balderas called his state a "dumping ground" for abusers.
"There are numerous, numerous families that are demanding justice. And so what I'm hoping for is that the church understand that they also have an obligation to seek justice by reconciling, providing information to a law enforcement agency," Balderas told CBS News.
The New Mexico Dioceses of Las Cruces and Gallup as well as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said they plan to cooperate with the attorney general.
While Balderas said that although he has subpoena power, he's trying to encourage the church to come forward first with "a full, massive disclosure." Balderas also said his team has been investigating abuse by priests since March 2016, and that he has personally been in contact with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro along with other attorneys general across the country.
"We are all very well aware that this is a law enforcement issue at our desks, and we all think we need to work collectively in sharing information, considering that we know priests were transported across state lines," Balderas said.
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley also launched an investigation into clergy sexual abuse in August, but he doesn't have subpoena power and will have to rely on the cooperation of church leaders. "We're not going to pull our punches," Hawley told CBS News.