Appeals Court Reinstates Evidence in Trial of Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
October 9, 2001

SANTA FE — A criminal case against a Catholic priest accused of sexually exploiting children is back on track after a two-year hiatus following a state appeals court decision to reinstate evidence.

Rev. Robert Malloy, a former pastor at Queen of Heaven Roman Catholic Church in Albuquerque, was charged with sexual exploitation of children by prostitution.

He was scheduled to go to trial in February 2000. But the prosecution's case evaporated when District Judge Frank Allen Jr. ruled that evidence seized from Malloy's home, office and car in December 1998 should be excluded from the trial.

But the court of appeals said that evidence could be admitted in court. The state Supreme Court declined to review the appeals court decision.

"We're picking up where we left off," Deputy District Attorney Joe Paone said.

Malloy's attorney, Ray Twohig, had challenged the search warrants used to seize the evidence.

He said the district judge who issued them, James Blackmer, agreed to partially seal and black out certain portions of police affidavits used to obtain the warrants.

Blackmer apparently took those stops to protect the alleged victims' identities, but Twohig said the warrants were virtually blank when Malloy received them.

In the order suppressing the warrants from evidence, Allen said police had violated Malloy's rights by not giving him the full affidavits when the searches were executed.

Twohig said the appeals court ruling "will definitely make defense of the case more difficult - but defend it we will."


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