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Another former New Mexico priest charged with child rape

Sabine Griego, 81 (SMCDC)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

The state Attorney General’s Office has charged a former Archdiocese of Santa Fe priest with raping a young girl at an Albuquerque Catholic School roughly 30 years ago.

Sabine Griego, 81, faces one count of criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13. He was arrested and booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center.

The Attorney General’s Office alleges the victim was a student at Queen of Heaven Catholic School when she was repeatedly raped by Griego.

The allegations detailed in the affidavit are disturbing. In one instance, the affidavit says, he became angry with her and broke her nose. In another instance, he is alleged to have covertly sexually assaulted her while she sat in his lap in front of another priest; it’s unclear whether the other priest was aware of what was happening. The victim also told authorities that Griego threatened to kill her or cut her tongue out if she told anyone about the abuse.

The abuse stopped when she was a fourth-grader and Griego was transferred out of the school, the affidavit says.

The victim told investigators that the abuse led to her having nightmares and harming herself.

“She said this was because she was blaming herself for what happened with Sabine Griego,” the affidavit says.

The AG’s Office also says that it has evidence that Archbishop Michael Sheehan was aware of this abuse as early as 2004. It quotes a confidential letter from the former archbishop.

“Particularly abhorrent is the case of the female victim … who was nine in 1990 at the time of the alleged abuse,” the letter says. “She indicated that she endured vaginal, oral and anal sex from the accused.”

According to the AG’s affidavit, “The letter provides direct evidence not only that the (criminal sexual penetration of a minor) occurred and that The Church was aware of it but also that The Church appears to have conducted an investigation into the matter,” according to the affidavit.

Griego has been named in multiple lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe alleging sexual abuse.

In May, seven people, six men and one woman, filed suit against Griego, alleging they were sexually abused by him in Las Vegas, N.M., for years. That case is pending trial.

Griego is the second priest to be charged with sexual abuse during an ongoing investigation into Catholic priests across the state by Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. Marvin Archuleta, 81, was arrested and charged in February with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and kidnapping in the rape of a 6-year-old boy in the 1980s at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Santa Cruz, near Española.

And five months earlier, federal agents extradited former Kirtland Air Force Base chaplain Arthur Perrault from Morocco and charged him with six counts of federal aggravated sexual abuse and one count of sexual contact in the molestation of an 11-year-old boy in the early ’90s. Perrault pleaded not guilty to all counts.

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