Fugitive Priest Pleads Not Guilty To Sex Abuse, Public Comment Period Ends On WIPP Changes

Sep 21, 2018

Fugitive Priest Pleads Not Guilty To Sex AbuseAssociated Press

A fugitive priest suspected of child abuse decades ago in New Mexico has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of abuse.

Arthur Perrault entered his plea Friday in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque following his arrest in Morocco and return to the U.S.

The 80-year-old Perrault is facing charges of criminal aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact in incidents that federal authorities say happened at Kirtland Air Force Base and Santa Fe National Cemetery in the 1990s.

Perrault had been a chaplain at the base in Albuquerque. He vanished in 1992, just days before an attorney filed two lawsuits against the archdiocese alleging Perrault had sexually assaulted seven children.

Court documents show Perrault was arrested Thursday in New York. He turned up last year in Morocco, working at an English-language school for children, where he was subsequently fired.

Bloomfield Considers Combining Law Enforcement DepartmentsAssociated Press, Farmington Daily Times

Bloomfield is considering getting law enforcement and fire protection support from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office as the city's police department continues to struggle with recruitment and retention.

According to an emailed statement by Mayor Cynthia Atencio drafted after consulting with city councilors on Thursday, the Bloomfield Police Department has lost five officers since January, bringing the number of officers down to 13.

The Farmington Daily Times reports Atencio says combining the police department with the sheriff's office could reduce costs, develop economies of scale and reduce duplication of functions.

She also thinks the merger would allow for better training, recruitment and retention because it would provide more money for more officers.

She says the city will hold community discussions on the proposal once it finishes collecting facts and figures.

Public Comment Period Ends On Eyed Nuke Repository Expansion – Associated Press, Santa Fe New Mexican

The public comment period has ended on a proposal to expand the amount of radioactive and hazardous waste allowed at an underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that critics are accusing the state Environment Department of rushing the approval process.

The criticism comes after the rejection of a petition by 21 environmental groups to extend the public comment period to 90 days.

The U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership, a private contractor that manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, submitted a request earlier this year to change the way radioactive waste at the site is measured.

The change could lead to a 30 percent increase in the amount of new waste allowed at the site.

UNM Provost Warns Of 'Hard Decisions' After Enrollment Drop – Associated Press

The University of New Mexico's top academic official says hard decisions loom due to a steeper-than-expected drop in student enrollment.

The Albuquerque Journal reports interim Provost Richard Wood announced in an email this week that the university's main campus enrollment dropped 7 percent this fall. That means the school would make $9.7 million less than projected in tuition and fees.

Wood says university reserves would help buffer the financial impact and that the school would try to avoid across-the-board cuts that could jeopardize the academic mission.

The University of New Mexico's total student population dropped each of the last five years, sliding more than 9 percent from 2012 to 2017.

Colorado University Says It Has Anti-Bias Policies – Associated Press

Colorado State University says policies are being developed to make the school more welcoming to Native American students after campus police pulled two Mohawk brothers from an admissions tour last spring.

University spokesman Mike Hooker's statement Thursday came in response to an American Civil Liberties Union letter demanding that the school increase police training and review policies that dictate how officers respond to bias-based reports on campus.

The legal group represents Thomas Kanewakeron Gray and Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, whose campus tour was interrupted by police after a parent in the group reported they appeared evasive.

The school says campus police are already required to complete anti-bias training and follow policies aimed at preventing bias-based policing.

The ACLU says the training and policies failed to prevent a humiliating situation for the two Native American students.

TV Drama Starring Ben Kingsley To Film In Santa FeSanta Fe New Mexican

A new television drama will begin filming at Garson Studios in Santa Fe this fall starring Ben Kingsley.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the series is tentatively titled “Our Lady LTD” and will shoot at Garson Studios and at area locations through March.

It also stars Jimmi Simpson from HBO’s “Westworld” and Jacki Weaver who was nominated for an Academy Award for “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Another series is shooting at Santa Fe Studios this fall, a reboot of the television series “Roswell.”

Army Captain Killed In Colorado Springs, Police Seek Help – Associated Press

Police in Colorado Springs are investigating the weekend shooting death of a U.S. Army captain from Santa Fe who was stationed at Fort Carson.

The body of 28-year-old Capt. Daniel Chamberlain Lehman was found early Saturday near an intersection in Colorado Springs. Police believe Lehman had been shot around 2 a.m.

On Wednesday, officers asked for the public's help with the investigation.

Lehman's obituary said he was a West Point graduate with a double major in nuclear physics and philosophy.

Trial Starts For Militant Religious Sect Leader Over Abuse – Gallup Independent, Associated Press

Opening statements have begun in the trial for one of the leaders of a western New Mexico paramilitary religious sect accused of child sexual abuse.

The Gallup Independent reports prosecutors said Tuesday that former members of the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps will testify against leader Deborah Green and detail allegations of child abuse.

Prosecutor Brandon Vigil says the case involved an infant taken from Uganda who was mistreated throughout her life by Green and members of the isolated Pentecostal sect.

But defense attorney R. Don Lohbeck says the case is about former members who have vendettas against Green and an alleged victim who has changed her story over the years.

Authorities raided the sect's secluded Fence Lake, New Mexico compound last year over concerns about child abuse.