Panel discussions planned on clerical abuse

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe officials will field questions about clerical sexual abuse in a series of panel discussions scheduled from Nov. 7 to Jan. 31 at five parishes around the New Mexico, the archdiocese said Monday.

The announcement came less than a week after a court-ordered disclosure of church records about three former Archdiocese of Santa Fe priests, and about a month after the archdiocese released a list of 74 clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, together with an apology to survivors.

The Rev. John Daniel, the archdiocese’s vicar for clergy, issued an email asking all parishes to publish the time and place of the panel discussions at least twice in their church bulletins.

“The purpose for these Panel Discussions, are to help with healing and transparency,” Daniel said in the email.

The panels will be held at parishes in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Clovis, and Las Vegas, N.M. Panelists will be available to “answer questions, address concerns and give information,” according to the email.

District Judge Alan Malott on Wednesday approved a request from a television station to unseal court records related to three former priests who have been named in dozens of lawsuits dating to the 1990s. The former priests are Sabine Griego and Jason Sigler, who live today in New Mexico, and Arthur Perrault, who fled the state in 1992.

The panels will be held in communities and parishes that were among those hard hit by the clergy abuse crisis. One panel is slated to take place at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Las Vegas, N.M., where both Sigler and Griego are alleged to have sexually abused children, according to court records.

On Sept. 12, Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester released a list of 74 clergy who were credibly accused of sexually abusing children, and issued an apology to survivors “for the pain and suffering you have endured,” he said in a written statement introducing the list.

“It is my deepest hope that our publication of this list will serve as an important step in healing for survivors, their families, and our Church and communities,” Wester wrote.

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