NM Archdiocese To File For Bankruptcy, Albuquerque Returns Buses Over Safety Concerns

Nov 29, 2018

New Mexico Archdiocese To File For Bankruptcy- Associated Press

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe says it will file for bankruptcy protection next week, citing depleted reserves as the Catholic church in New Mexico has settled numerous claims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Archbishop John Wester made the announcement today. He said he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point and he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims.

Wester acknowledged a charged atmosphere, pointing to the clergy sex abuse investigation in Pennsylvania and other cases that have garnered national attention. He said the archdiocese has about three dozen cases and he said there will likely be more.

About 20 dioceses and other religious orders around the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of the claims.

Warrants Detail Clergy Sex Abuse In New Mexico- Associated Press

Search warrants obtained by The Associated Press reveal graphic allegations of sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy in New Mexico.

The warrants were served Wednesday by agents with the state attorney general's office at the home of a former priest in northern New Mexico and at the offices of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, which is located in Albuquerque.

The warrants were based on the statements of two unidentified victims and a confidential informant who provided information about the church not following through on settlements and giving ultimatums to victims. That included threats of stopping paid treatment if victims went to authorities with their claims.

The archdiocese did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Archbishop John Wester planned a news conference for this afternoon after meeting with all priests in the diocese.

New Mexico Prosecutors Get Documents On 2 Former Priests - Associated Press

New Mexico prosecutors have obtained documents from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe regarding the service records of two former priests.

Agents with the state Attorney General's Office served a search warrant to get the information.

The Archdiocese in a statement identified the former priests as Marvin Archuleta and Sabine Griego. The two are among those on the archdiocese's list of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.

Prosecutors earlier this year said they wanted church officials to allow them to review personnel records for any material that might be related to past or present allegations of abuse.

In May, Griego was named in a civil lawsuit by seven people who say they are victims of sexual abuse. Court records did not list an attorney for him.

Archuleta's whereabouts are unknown.

Albuquerque Returns Electric Buses Over Safety Concerns - Associated Press

The city of Albuquerque says a fleet of problematic buses that were supposed to serve passengers as part of a long-delayed transit project are being returned to the manufacturer.

City officials said bus manufacturer BYD began removing the electric buses Wednesday.

Mayor Tim Keller announced earlier this month that he was pulling the plug on the electric buses over concerns about battery life, brake failures and other equipment malfunctions.

BYD had argued that the buses and batteries were safe.

The troubled Albuquerque Rapid Transit project — or ART — comes at a cost of $135 million. In addition to $14 million in federal funds designated to reimburse expenses related to construction along Central Avenue, the city has received $75 million from the Federal Transit Administration.

New Mexico Dismisses Sexual Harassment Case Against Lawmaker - Associated Press

A long-awaited public hearing on sexual harassment accusations against a New Mexico state lawmaker has been canceled after the accuser decided not to testify.

A House subcommittee announced Wednesday the dismissal of charges against Democratic state Rep. Carl Trujillo of Nambe. Trujillo has vigorously denied accusations by former lobbyist Laura Bonar that he inappropriately touched and propositioned her as the two worked together on legislation in 2014.

Trujillo lost his re-election bid in the June Democratic primary after Bonar posted her accusations online and urged voters not to support the three-term lawmaker.

Bonar and her attorney could not be reached immediately for comment.

Trujillo says he is thankful for the preliminary order that dismisses charges and is awaiting publication of a more detailed final order before commenting further.

Family Threatens Lawsuit Over Death Of Transgender Migrant - Associated Press

The family of a Honduran transgender migrant who died while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is threatening to sue, claiming the woman did not receive adequate medical care and was physically abused.

The Transgender Law Center and attorney Andrew Free released details of an independent autopsy this week that concluded Roxsana Hernandez likely died as the result of severe dehydration complicated by HIV.

The autopsy also noted deep bruising along her ribs that wasn't evident externally and contusions on her back.

Immigration authorities say Hernandez wasn't abused while in their custody.

Hernandez arrived in the United States with other Central American asylum seekers. She was transferred to New Mexico in May after first being taken into custody in California.

She died at an Albuquerque hospital after showing symptoms of pneumonia, dehydration and other complications.

Mom Of Slain New Mexico Teen Will Get Prison In A Plea Deal - Albuquerque Journal, Associated Press

The mother of a slain New Mexico teenager has accepted a plea deal that will result in a 12-year prison sentence for child abuse resulting in death.

The Albuquerque Journal reports 36-year-old Tracy Ann Peña must testify against 20-year-old Jordan Nuñez who's awaiting trial in the case.

Nuñez is the son of Pena's former boyfriend. He's accused of torturing 13-year-old Jeremiah Valencia daily with a homemade spear or a shock collar.

The teen was found dead in the family group's Nambé home in November 2017.

Court documents allege Valencia died after Nuñez repeatedly flipped over a dog cage that the teen was forced to stay in.

Authorities initially suspected Nuñez's father, 42-year-old Thomas Ferguson, as the one who fatally beat the boy.

Ferguson died in jail by suicide in April.

Albuquerque Man Gets Probation For Mail Theft- Associated Press

An Albuquerque man will be confined to home for the next eight months as part of his sentence for stealing mail.

Federal prosecutors say 33-year-old Eric Powell was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court on a charge of theft or receipt of stolen mail. He also will be on probation for five years.

He was accused of causing his victims more than $13,000 in financial losses. Court documents say he had mail from more than 1,300 people.

In pleading guilty, Powell admitted stealing from numerous mailboxes in Albuquerque using a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service key.

He also admitted to buying various items with credit and debit cards, checks and gift cards he obtained from the stolen mail.

Texas A&M engineering experts to advise Pantex nuclear plant-Associated Press

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station will provide technical advice and workforce training at the nation's top site for assembly, disassembly and maintenance of nuclear weapons.

On Thursday, the Texas A&M University System announced the agreement with the Pantex Plant near Amarillo.

Consolidated Nuclear Security manages and operates Pantex, which has nearly 4,000 workers. Texas A&M University System regents in April authorized the engineering state agency to sublease up to 16,000 square feet of space at the adjacent John C. Drummond Center.

Chancellor John Sharp says it's a natural extension of the System's commitment to the nuclear weapons industry. The System is a partner with Triad National Security, which manages and operates the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Pentagon Identifies 3 Servicemen Killed In Afghanistan - Associated Press

The Pentagon has released the names of three U.S. servicemen killed Tuesday by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

They are Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, age 29, of Lexington, Virginia; Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, age 39, of Brush Prairie, Washington; and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, age 25, of Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

They were killed in Ghazni province, an area where the Taliban is resurgent. It was the deadliest attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year.

Elchin was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron, based at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Ross and Emond were assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.