Note: List of the accused at the bottom of this story.
A list of 28 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors was released by the Diocese of Las Cruces on Thursday.
The list includes priests who were stationed at various Southern New Mexico cities, including Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Deming and Roswell. The Diocese of Las Cruces includes several South New Mexico cities.
The alleged abuse occurred as early as the 1950s and as recent as 2000. Some of the reports of abuse were received as recent as this year.
Twelve of the 28 are dead and another four have been removed from the clergy. One accused priest is living in the Philippine Islands.
David Holley, who allegedly had an incident between 1972 to 1974 while on assignment at St. Jude in Alamogordo, was convicted in 1993 and died in 2008.
“In some instances, the abuse is alleged to have occurred prior to the establishment of the Diocese of Las Cruces in 1982 or in another diocese altogether; however, the individuals are included because they served in the Diocese of Las Cruces at some point,” a news release from the Diocese said..”Some of the individuals identified are deceased and the rest have been removed from ministry or retired. These persons appear on the list because they have been listed as credibly accused by another diocese and/or the allegations against them have been deemed credible by the diocese’s Sexual Abuse Review Board, which is composed of citizens with expertise in law enforcement, mental health, and children’s health.”
In the release, the Diocese said no new allegations have occurred since 2000, in part because of new protocols on training and background checks implemented in 2002.
“We believe that God is a forgiving God. That’s the heart of what we believe, but it doesn’t necessarily mean someone can go back into what they were doing even though God forgives them. We can’t tolerate the harm to a child,” Bishop Gerald Kicanas told KTSM.
The list and all files associated with them has been turned over to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, the release said.
The diocese added that more names could be added to the list in the future if they received more credible accusations.
“I think that priests are worried that anyone could come forward with an allegation and then their priesthood is gone. So we have to remember that in evaluating, as our review board does very carefully, to make sure that the rights of the priest are respected as well,” Bishop Kicanas shared.
Below is the release and list from the Diocese of Las Cruces: