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Throughout the 1990s, there were regular reports in New Mexico of people coming forward with allegations of sexual abuse.
To date, there have been more than 250 of them — although Tinkler said the rate has slowed.
While Mc Carthy’s film inevitably will touch raw nerves, many people here seem to think the film could have a positive impact by acknowledging the truth of what happened, or by encouraging more people who experienced abuse, or who knew about it, to come forward.
Robert Kiely of Santa Fe attended a Catholic youth camp in Indiana where children were abused by clergy, including a priest who worked in New Mexico.
He announced a zero-tolerance policy, some priests were removed, and a training program to prevent sexual abuse became mandatory for all clergy, staff and even volunteers.
Sheehan also called for background checks and more careful screening of candidates for ordination.
“Some are still alive and very likely living and working among unsuspecting neighbors and colleagues.
And even for predators who have died, there are church staff who could be prosecuted for destroying evidence, intimidating victims and deceiving law enforcement.
For some to become enlightened and ask questions, that’s a very good thing because it shines the spotlight on the Church and those abusers who have torn the innocence from little children.” Lawyers Stephen Tinkler and Merit Bennett, who handled more than 150 church abuse cases, believe the film could have benefits.
In April 1993, The New Mexican published a series of articles called “Troubled Times: The Church in Crisis.” At the time, about 50 adults had sued eight priests, with some suits also naming the archdiocese.
It had become widely known that pedophile priests from across the country were being sent to a treatment center at a retreat in Jemez Springs, operated by the Servants of the Paraclete.
“I’m glad they made the movie,” Tinkler said, adding that when the stories first came out in the 1990s, they were “impossible to believe because they are so horrible.” Remembering his first interview with a victim in 1992, Tinkler said he had found the story hard to accept himself. They didn’t know one another, but they all shared similar accounts, he said.
Still, he added, many dyed-in-the-wool Catholics didn’t believe the stories here until similar stories were affirmed in Boston and California.
When Adam Lee Ortega y Ortiz, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St.