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Priest accused of rape released pending trial

A former priest facing child sex abuse accusations will await his trial out of custody, an Albuquerque judge ruled Monday.


Sabine Griego

Sabine Griego, 81, is accused of repeatedly raping a young altar server over a period of about two years beginning in the late 1980s, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

That altar server is now in her late 30s, and Griego’s defense attorney argued at a detention hearing Monday that her “ability to be truthful and honest is significantly in question.” He pointed out that she has been convicted of identity theft and health care fraud, and that treatment notes said she exhibited lying behavior, and enjoyed being outrageous and shocking.

Prosecutors say Griego violently raped the girl multiple times, beginning when she was a second-grade student at Queen of Heaven Catholic School.

Judge Charles Brown said the state offered no evidence that Griego had harmed anyone in the 27 years since the alleged abuse took place, and there was no sign that he is presently a danger.

“The nature of the allegations are serious; they’re certainly disturbing,” Brown said. “But those are allegations; he’s still presumed to be innocent.”

Rather than keep Griego behind bars, Brown ordered him to live with relatives and prohibited him from having unsupervised contact with children.

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