3 MR. GOFFE: The time is 1:21. We are back
4 on the record.
5 Q. (By Mr. Bennett) Good afternoon, Archbishop.
6 A. Good afternoon, Mr. Bennett.
7 Q. Archbishop, we've been discussing the
8 disposition of Father Jason Sigler in 1981, and I want to
9 now show you Exhibit 12-KK, which is a letter dated
10 3, 1981, addressed to you and signed by Father Joseph
11 McNamara, Servant General of the Servants of the
12 Paraclete, and ask if you recall that letter.
13 A. Okay.
14 Q. Have you had an opportunity to review that
15 letter, Archbishop?
16 A. Yes, sir.
17 Q. And do you recall receiving that shortly after
18 August 3rd, 1981?
19 A. Again, I don't have an active memory of it, but
20 it did arrive. It was addressed to me.
21 Q. Now, there's a notation down in the lower
22 right-hand corner that indicates, "Answered, appt.,"
23 I assume means appointment, "August 24." Do you see
24 A. Yes, right.
25 Q. Do you know whose handwriting that is?
1 A. I think that's my secretary, that this must have
2 been answered, and an appointment was established for
3 August 24th, is what I think she's putting down.
4 Q. And there is a note, a typewritten note, at the
5 bottom of the letter?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. With the initials at the end of that note,
8 "RFS." Can you please tell me who placed that note on
10 A. That note was placed by my secretary at my
11 dictation, and the "RFS" refers to me, Robert F.
12 Q. And so this meeting did take place on August 24,
13 1981, between yourself, Dr. Feierman and Father
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Was anyone else present?
16 A. Not that I can recall.
17 Q. Was Jason Sigler present?
18 A. I don't believe so; otherwise, it would have
19 been included in the note, notation.
20 Q. What about Father Clarence Galli?
21 A. No one else but the three mentioned.
22 Q. And what was discussed at that meeting, to your
23 best recollection?
24 A. The letter that was originally sent to me, the
25 contents of that letter. They had asked, I believe, to
1 meet with me so that Dr. Feierman would make some
2 about Father Sigler's immediate future. Dr. Feierman was
3 the therapist, apparently, for Father Sigler; and they
4 wanted to know whether to enroll him in the next module
5 the Albuquerque Villa or to put him on strong medicine.
6 And he wanted also to know whether there would be any
7 possible future for Father Jason in the Archidocese of
8 Santa Fe and whether we would be willing to help
9 financially for his support at the Albuquerque VillA.
10 Those three points.
11 The memo that I placed down at the end of that letter
12 was that I, in fact, did meet with Dr. Feierman and
13 McNamara, and I agreed to have them place Father
14 the Albuquerque Villa for their program, which was to
15 begin in January, and that the Archidocese would
16 help to some financial agreement. I had no idea what
17 cost may be, so no figures were placed here.
18 But I also made it clear, in answer to Dr. Feierman's
19 request, I made it clear that Father Jason Sigler would
20 not be acceptable for ministry in the Archidocese.
21 So I believe the questions that they were seeking to
22 be answered were, in fact, answered for them.
23 Q. Now, what was the purpose of sending Jason
24 Sigler to the Albuquerque Villa, and why was your
1 A. They wanted to know, first of all, whether I had
2 any hopes or intentions of allowing him to minister in the
3 Archidocese, since he had been; and I had to make it
4 to them that I would not.
5 Secondly, they wanted to know whether I would help
6 finance anything if they placed him in the Villa in the
7 module, if the Archidocese may be willing to pick up part
8 of the cost. I told them that I would consider that an
9 act of the kindness towards Father Sigler, inasmuch as he
10 had served there for some time. But there was going to
11 no future for him in the Archidocese of Santa Fe.
12 Q. And so there was no discussion of sending him to
13 the Albuquerque Villa to see how he might progress in
14 future and then make another determination in the future
15 whether or not he would return?
16 A. No. As far as I was concerned, that
17 relationship to myself had ceased, and he was now in
18 the -- well, he had been under the authority of his own
19 archbishop, not myself.
20 Q. And why did you decide to terminate the
21 relationship with Father Sigler at that time?
22 A. Because of the incident that had occurred
23 earlier that Spring at St. Therese Parish in Albuquerque.
24 Q. Was it also, in part, because you knew that he
25 had done it before, as you had found out from the
1 Archbishop of Winnipeg?
2 A. I don't recall if that was part of my conscious
3 decision. I just knew that when I had terminated him at
4 St. Therese, I had done so firmly, and I believe my mind
5 was made up that since he was not a priest incardinated
6 the Archidocese of Santa Fe, I did not have that
7 responsibility or continuing responsibility toward him.
8 Q. Was it another possible reason that you didn't
9 want to continue the relationship with Jason Sigler was
10 because of the nature of his sexual misconduct at St.
11 Therese Parish?
12 A. That's speculative, but it could have been. I
13 know that I am hurt deeply when offenses of this nature
14 occur. That may have been part of the reason. But again,
15 as I state, dealing with Father Jason Sigler and dealing
16 with the personnel board of our Archidocese, there
17 have been no chance for him to become a member of
18 diocese once again. He had been with us, and now his
19 with us had ended.
20 Q. Was this matter referred to the personnel board
21 at that time?
22 A. No, the decision was made by myself. But if I
23 were going to allow him to even be considered, then I
24 would have referred to the personnel board, and they
25 have had to make a decision, and I'm certain that their
1 decision would have been negative, as well.
2 Q. And prior to having this meeting with Dr.
3 Feierman and Father McNamara, did you pull out Father
4 Sigler's personnel file and review it?
5 A. I do not recall doing that.
6 Q. The next letter in the personnel file is Exhibit
7 12-LL which is a letter addressed to you signed by Jason
8 Sigler. Let me ask if you recall receiving that?
9 MS. BURTRAM: Do you have a date, Mr.
11 MR. BENNETT: Yes.
12 THE WITNESS: It's January 14th, 1982.
13 MS. BURTRAM: Thank you.
14 A. Okay.
15 Q. Did you receive that shortly after it was
17 A. I assume I did. I have no active memory of
18 receiving it, but it was addressed to me, and I'm sure I
19 received it.
20 Q. And in this letter, Jason Sigler states that he
21 has decided to leave the active ministry. And let me
22 you what's been marked as 12-MM. It's a letter on the
23 Archidocese of Santa Fe letterhead dated January 26th,
24 1982, addressed to Reverend Jason Sigler at the
25 of the Paraclete, and the signature block is yours. Let
1 me ask if you did, in fact, send that letter to Jason
2 Sigler on that date?
3 A. It was my response to his letter dated the 14th
4 of January.
5 Q. And you did sign the original, I assume?
6 A. Oh, yes.
7 Q. And sent it to Jason Sigler?
8 A. Yes, sir.
9 Q. In this letter, you make the statement, "I have
10 judged you to be a very sincere person." Why did you
11 that statement?
12 A. Apparently from his dealings with me,
13 conversations, he always seemed to have a very sincere
14 approach to whatever he would talk about, and I felt that
15 he had been a sincere type of individual that I had
16 during this period of time. I think that's an expression
17 we can use to friends. This would be my last letter to
18 him. It was an expression of gratitude on behalf of
19 people that he had served and contained that comment
20 me, as well.
21 Q. Was Jason Sigler your friend?
22 A. He was not my friend, no, sir.
23 Q. You later state in the letter, "You are a good
24 man." Why did you say that to Father Jason Sigler, who
25 had molested children at St. Therese Parish?
1 A. I think that, sir, when a person retains within
2 themselves the goodness of the Lord, even though we
3 failed -- and I have said to countless people that they
4 are good people, when they have come to me with their
5 personal shortcomings and failings -- I have to try to
6 reaffirm them in the basic goodness that is there, so they
7 can begin to rebuild their life on that goodness.
8 Q. And you go on to say, "I am grateful to you for
9 your eight years of service in the Archidocese of
10 Santa Fe."
11 How could you be grateful to Jason Sigler for the
12 abuse of children at St. Therese Parish?
13 A. I was not grateful for the abuse of children. I
14 was not grateful for any other mistakes that he may have
15 made in insulting people, but I had to speak on behalf of
16 those individuals whom he did serve properly and had
17 received help at his hands, and this is the type of letter
18 I normally write to people when they are either retiring
19 from the ministry or leaving the diocese to express, on
20 behalf of the people whom they have served, words of
22 Q. Did you conduct any type of survey or
23 investigation of the people Jason Sigler had served
24 the diocese to determine whether or not they were
25 for his service?
1 A. No, sir. I did not conduct any type of survey
2 from the people of the Archidocese.
3 Q. Was this an assumption you made on your part?
4 A. It was an assumption on my part that I felt I
5 had the basis of the fact that he had served people
6 throughout New Mexico, the Archidocese of Santa Fe,
7 that there were people there who must have been grateful
8 for that ministry.
9 Q. But you didn't know any specific people who were
11 A. Sir, just the very celebration of the Eucharist
12 in our communities on a daily basis is a service to
13 people, and people are grateful for that very special
14 opportunity to attend Mass on a daily basis. I think my
15 assumption that people were grateful for that was
23 Q. (By Mr. Bennett) I'm asking for policy of the
24 Archidocese of Santa Fe.
25 A. There's no policy in courtesy. I think common
1 courtesy to people is one thing. Policy is something
2 else. This was a letter in reply to his informing me that
3 he had now decided to leave the priesthood totally and
4 change his own career, his life direction. And I replied
5 to his letter of information with my own words of
6 affirmation, of encouragement for his future, that it
7 might be a half descent future for him.
8 Q. Well, I can understand encouraging his future.
9 But my question to you, do you think it was reasonable
10 prudent to be grateful for his service in view of the fact
11 that he had sexually molested children at one of your
13 A. That is your opinion about being grateful.
14 Perhaps I am too good in that area of showing people
15 gratitude for things that they do. I think that anyone
16 who serves people in public positions are appreciated,
17 even though they may not be perfect in that service.
18 Q. And even though they may sexually molest
19 children while in that service?
20 A. I did not include that as part of my example.
21 Q. I included it as part of my question.
22 A. I realize that his offense was a serious offense
23 against children. In my own letter of farewell to him, I
24 was saying, "Thank you for the positive things you have
25 done." I did not include a condemnation for any negative
1 things that he was guilty of.
2 Q. But you had conducted no investigation
3 concerning -- or a survey concerning whether or not the
4 positive outweighed the negative, did you?
5 MS. KENNEDY: Same objection.
6 A. Sir, no, I did not conduct any investigation. A
7 person who is head of a large group of people such as a
8 diocese, or even the President when he speaks on behalf
9 the nation, saying, "The nation certainly joins with me in
10 thanking you for your service to us," that's a general
11 statement without conducting an investigation, and that
12 was just an expression of courtesy.
13 Q. Do you know of any archidocese anywhere in the
14 world that has a policy of expressing gratitude to priests
15 who have molested children?
16 A. I do not know of any archidocese anywhere in the
17 world that has a policy of expressing gratitude to priests
18 who have molested children.
19 Q. Let me show you the last document in Jason
20 Sigler's personnel file, which is 12-OO. It's a
21 handwritten letter addressed to you, dated March 11,
22 signed by Jason Sigler. Do you recall receiving that
24 A. Once again, I do not have an active memory of
25 receiving it, but it was addressed to me, and I did
1 receive it.
2 Q. And Jason Sigler refers to a friendship between
3 him and you in this letter. Is he incorrect when he uses
4 that term?
5 A. I think he is using the term in a generic way.
6 The fact that we were not enemies was the fact that,
7 we were friends. But there was no special friendship or
8 relationship between us in any way.
9 Q. Archbishop Sanchez, at the time that you sent
10 the January 26th, 1982, letter to Jason Sigler expressing
11 your gratitude for his eight years of service and thanking
12 him for his ministry in the Archidocese, did you, on or
13 about that time or at any time after he molested children
14 at St. Therese Parish, send any letters of support and
15 comfort to the parents of the children whom he had
16 molested at that parish?
17 A. No, sir. I do not recall having done anything
18 of that nature.
19 Q. Did you ever meet with those parents personally?
20 A. I do not recall any special meeting with the
22 Q. Why not?
23 A. No meeting was requested of me. Without that
24 incentive, it did not occur to me that a meeting was
25 necessary or needed to take place. The people who deal
1 with our parishioners on a daily basis are normally our
2 pastors, the pastors of each parish. They are the
3 representatives of our Church, of the Archidocese, and
4 it's normally their duty to be able to bring comfort to
5 everyone and anyone who seeks that from them in
7 On very rare occasions, do people come to me directly
8 for that type of personal comfort. If it is requested, I
9 certainly receive them.
10 Q. You mean to tell me if a parent of a child
11 that's been sexually abused by one of your priests
12 come to you for comfort, you won't give it?
13 A. No, sir, I did not state that. I'm saying that
14 if parents -- parents are free to come to me or to say
15 they'd like to meet with me at any time. I am saying
16 I did not take any initiative to go out and to meet with
17 the parents of any child who may have been abused by
18 Father Jason Sigler, not because I felt it was not my
19 duty. It was simply not an active thing in my mind. I
20 depend upon my pastors in my parishes to relate directly
21 with their own community, with the people of the parish.
22 Q. What I want to know is why wasn't it an active
23 thing in your mind to rush to these parents whose
24 had been sexually assaulted by one of your priests?
25 MS. KENNEDY: Same objection.
1 A. I can't give you a specific reason why it was
2 not an active motivation in my mind to rush to these
3 parents. I did send the pastor to meet with them in my
4 name, and I have no doubt if they had expressed any
5 to meet with me, I would have been there personally.
6 Thinking about it, it would have been a nice thing, but it
7 did not occur to me at that time that that was something
8 that I should do.
9 Q. Do you know if psychological support or
10 professional counseling support within or without the
11 Church was offered to those families at that time?
12 A. I believe -- and I'm not accurate in my
13 recollection with the pastor -- but I believe that part of
14 the discussion with Father Hunt was that if the people,
15 certainly the ones who we knew, needed any type of
16 psychological assistance, that that could be provided by
17 the Church for them. How he may have represented this
18 the people or what their response was, I don't know.
19 Q. Why don't you know?
20 A. If no report was given to me whether they wanted
21 to have psychological counseling or not, I just don't
23 Q. You didn't ever think to follow up on how these
24 families were doing or whether or not they were
25 help? It just didn't occur to you because nobody brought
1 it to your attention?
2 A. Sir, I may very well have followed up. I'm
3 saying that I do not have an active recollection of having
4 done that. Father Hunt, as I have mentioned before in my
5 testimony, was a person familiar with sexual conduct and
6 misconduct, excuse me, and especially in dealing with
7 children. And I would have to assume that what was
8 necessary for the families who were there would have
9 discussed by him with those families.
10 My presence, if I had gone to them, would certainly
11 have been an affirmation of the Church, but it did not
12 occur to me at that time that I should do that.
13 Q. Do you know to this day whether or not any of
14 those families have received professional psychological
16 A. I am not certain about that at all, no.
17 Q. Do you know whether or not any monies have been
18 expended by the Archidocese to provide such a service
19 these families?
20 A. I cannot recall that either. I don't know.
21 Q. Do you think it would be a good policy of the
22 Archidocese of Santa Fe to have a record of such a
23 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: Objection, speculation.
24 A. If, in fact, monies were granted for assistance
25 or for -- rather, for psychological assistance, therapy
1 for the children, there would be some kind of record in
2 the finance department, because the Church has stood
3 in the years to be able to assist whenever a need such as
4 this would surface.
5 Q. And would you have to approve such an allocation
6 of funds?
7 A. Most of the time they would be brought to my
8 attention. If they were going to be brought to my
9 attention at all, I would say, yes, that this was sort of
10 a policy that we had. If there is any kind of offense
11 from a priest to an individual, we stood ready to provide
12 counseling for them.
13 Q. And have you ever approved an allocation of
14 money to the families of the children abused by Jason
15 Sigler for psychological counseling?
16 MS. KENNEDY: Same objection.
17 A. I do not recall those families in particular at
18 all, sir.
19 Q. Prior to your appointment as Archbishop in 1974,
20 did you have any knowledge that your name may be
21 for such an appointment?
22 MS. KENNEDY: Objection.
23 A. No, sir. There was rumor about many things,
24 about many individuals being possibly named as our
25 archbishop, because it became known that Archbishop
1 had, in fact, submitted his letter of resignation to the
2 Holy Sea and was simply waiting an approval of that
3 of resignation. Once that word became known, the priests
4 themselves began to speculate as to who might be
5 The naming of an archbishop normally comes from the
6 ranks of a man who has served as bishop for a number of
7 years, because an archbishop is in a position -- not only
8 has administrative responsibilities to his own diocese,
9 but he serves as a Church representative to an area of
10 bishops. In our concern here, the Archbishop of Santa Fe
11 is also, then, the metropolitan leader of the Province of
12 Santa Fe, which includes the Diocese of Phoenix and
13 Tucson, presently Las Cruces and Gallup, those four.
14 When I was named, Las Cruces diocese had not yet
15 into existence. In its place was a Diocese of El Paso.
16 For this reason, a man who was named archbishop was
17 normally one who had been a bishop in another diocese
18 a period of time.
19 One name that was mentioned popularly was Bishop
20 Hastrich from the Diocese of Gallup, since it was close
21 us, and he had served there for several years, was an
22 older man, and we thought perhaps he would be the one
23 would be selected. So I had no idea that -- or even
24 suspicion that my own name would be so recommended.
25 Q. And who made the appointment?
1 A. The appointment is made by the Holy Father,
3 Q. The Pope?
4 A. The Pope.
5 Q. And had you met with the Pope at any time prior
6 to your appointment?
7 A. No. The Pope at that time was Pope Paul VI, and
8 I had not been to Rome for 15 years, since my ordination
9 as a priest. And at that time, the Pope was Pope John
10 Paul -- I mean, Pope John XXIII, who had just been
11 and installed. I did not know the current Pope at that
13 Q. You had mentioned that Archbishop Davis had been
14 having some mental difficulties, for lack of a better
15 word. I don't know if those were your words.
16 A. Not mental difficulties, if I may add.
17 Q. Go ahead.
18 A. It appeared -- and I'd like to underscore that
19 word "it appeared," because I don't want to say that it
20 was a certainty. I had no facts to say it was -- it just
21 appeared that his memory was not as accurate as we
22 it might be, especially the immediate memory, during
24 Q. Let me ask you, then, a hypothetical question:
25 If an archbishop of the Archidocese of Santa Fe is
1 incapacitated to serve or is having difficulties serving
2 or there are questions about his competency, do you know
3 how the Pope is alerted and whether or not the Pope is
4 alerted to this situation?
5 A. If a person is having physical illness and feels
6 that he is being incapacitated significantly, and he is
7 not fulfilling his responsibilities adequately, then that
8 person himself would submit his name. If there are other
9 difficulties, then bishops who meet within the province --
10 because the meetings occur at least twice a year, and
11 there are frequently other occasions for the bishops to be
12 together -- they, in turn, would be able to speak with
13 that bishop about his apparent incapacity or deficiency
14 and recommend that he would write a letter requesting
15 approval of resignation.
16 Q. Do you know if that occurred in Archbishop
17 Davis' situation?
18 A. I believe -- and I have no support for this, I
19 believe that Archbishop Davis wrote his own letter of
20 resignation, recognizing, again, as I mentioned before,
21 his own deteriorating physical condition, personal
22 exhaustion -- he had been a bishop for some 30 years or
23 so, 35 years -- and the fact that his feet especially were
24 giving him severe problems, I believe that he felt it was
25 time to retire.
1 Q. After you were appointed -- or along with your
2 appointment as Archbishop, were there any instructions
3 from the Pope on how to conduct your tenure as
4 A. No, sir. There are were no instructions given,
5 no specific instructions given from the Holy Father. The
6 letter of appointment is a very nice letter. It's written
7 out in special writing, and it's written in Latin with
8 words of encouragement and officially appointing you as
9 the whatever number it might be. In my case, it was the
10 10th Archbishop of Santa Fe effective on certain date.
11 Q. Did you have any personal meetings with the Pope
12 at your appointment?
13 A. Not immediately afterwards. One year later, I
14 did present myself to Pope Paul VI on a visit to Rome,
15 we were able to meet together for about 20 minutes or
16 In fact, there was another bishop and myself who met
17 him at the same time. It was a courtesy visit, and I felt
18 that I needed to simply present myself and let him know
19 whom he had appointed to the Archidocese of Santa Fe.
20 Q. At that time, did you seek or did he give you
21 any advice concerning how to be an archbishop?
22 A. No, sir. It was not a meeting of instruction,
23 but it was a meeting of concern for a specific pastoral
24 ministry. I recall on that meeting with him, he took out
25 a map and asked me to show him what comprised the
1 Archidocese of Santa Fe in the United States, and I was
2 able to outline the areA.
3 And then he asked -- he was specifically concerned
4 about Native American Catholics in our area and about
5 Catholics who were of Spanish heritage, especially the
6 Spanish-speaking, and I was able to give him some
7 information that I was aware of. And he asked that I make
8 certain I would not neglect ministering to them and give
9 special attention to them, if necessary. And I recall
10 that having occurred at that meeting.
11 Q. Did he have any other concerns or advice for you
12 at that time?
13 A. No, sir, none.
14 Q. Had you ever met with the Pope following that
16 A. Yes, sir. A bishop of a diocese who is in
17 charge of the diocese -- we call them an ordinary,
18 he's an archbishop or a bishop -- he's responsible, in a
19 sense, for that areA. A bishop, then, is responsible to
20 go to Rome every five years; and in advance, we submit
21 report of the pastoral situation of the Archidocese, how
22 many priests we have, how many women religious, how
23 men religious, what are the parishes, how many, the
24 of Catholics, what sacraments have been administered
25 during the past five years. It's a comprehensive report
1 regarding the pastoral ministry, and we go ahead and do
2 our report, and then we present ourselves to the Holy
3 Father, again, as a courtesy visit. Most of the time we
4 have a chance to be with him privately for about 10 or 15
5 minutes at.
6 Most. On other occasions, he may invite in a group
7 from a region, area, maybe 12 or 15 bishops to meet with
8 him together. So it's not really an opportunity to talk
9 about a specific concern. It's more of a courtesy visit
10 with him and let him know in brief terms what the state
11 affairs are in your particular diocese.
12 Q. Is this something the Pope expects you to do
13 every approximately five years?
14 A. Yes. It is called the ad limina apostolorum.
15 It's Latin expression, a-d l-i-m-i-n-a and
16 a-p-o-s-t-o-l-o-r-u-m, which means to the portals of the
17 apostles. The bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul both lie
18 in Rome. They're entombed there. And bishops are
19 expected to go to Rome and pray at the portal or the
20 of these two great Christian saints.
21 On the occasion of their going and praying at those
22 two locations, they are then expected to make this
23 and also to present themselves to the Holy Father. So
24 it's an expected responsibility every five years, and
25 you're obliged to do that unless you're incapacitated
1 physically and cannot do so.
2 Q. And as part of this report that's submitted to
3 the Pope every five years, does it contain a section
4 wherein you would present any particular or current
5 concerns of the Archidocese?
6 A. In your report -- I think you're referring to
7 clergy, personnel. That's right, you would indicate in
8 the report the number of priests that are currently
9 serving, how many have died since your last report, how
10 many have been ordained since your last report and how
11 many may have left the ministry since your last report.
12 And you indicate those figures on that report so that they
13 can see either the increase in personnel or the decrease
14 in personnel.
15 A. My question is a little more specific. Do you
16 ever or have you ever indicated in these reports to the
17 Pope that there has been a concern of -- or cases of
18 sexual molestation by priests in your Archidocese?
19 A. I don't recall right offhand if I indicated that
20 specifically in my report. If, in fact, we had had a rash
21 of cases, I probably would have made reference to that. I
22 simply don't recall whether I made any specific
23 to this particular case that you're presenting, nor did I
24 make specific reference to other concerns about priests,
25 whether they were having problems with alcohol or
1 they were obedient at all times or were giving indication
2 that they would not be obedient or whether there were
3 significant changes from the sacred liturgy that priests
4 may have been involved in, varying from the guideline of
5 the Church. There would be many concerns that a person
6 could bring up in a report of that nature. I do not
7 recall what specific reports I may have made back then.
8 Q. Certainly it would be something that you could
9 place in that report?
10 A. Yes, yes, surely. It's a comprehensive report.
11 You can include -- I think the challenge is always trying
12 to keep it to a reasonable amount of written report,
13 because you can talk about anything and everything.
14 Q. Do you know when -- what was the date you
15 submitted the last report, the most recent report?
16 A. I would have been obliged to go to Rome this
17 past summer, but I was not the Archbishop at that time.
18 So I did not submit that report nor make that visit. I
19 have to assume -- I have not spoken with him, so I
20 have to assume that my successor, Archbishop Michael
21 Sheehan, did, in fact, make the ad limina visit to Rome
22 and did submit some kind of report.
23 Q. And that would have been in 1993?
24 A. 1993, excuse me, yes.
25 Q. Would that mean that the report, the next report
1 prior to that, would have been submitted in 1988?
2 A. 1988, yes.
3 Q. And was such a report submitted them?
4 A. Yes. I traveled to Rome on that occasion and
5 fulfilled my responsibilities.
6 Q. And do you have any present recollection as to
7 whether or not in that report in 1988 you mentioned the
8 fact that there had been at least one occurrence of
9 molestation of children by a priest in your Archidocese?
10 A. I don't recall what I included specifically in
11 that report, Mr. Bennett. It's just --
12 Q. So the answer would be no, you don't?
13 A. The answer is no, I'm sorry. Right, no
15 Q. And would the next previous report be the report
16 submitted in 1983?
17 A. '83.
18 Q. And was that report submitted then?
19 A. It was submitted then.
20 Q. And the same question: Was there any mention of
21 sexual molestation of children by priests in that report?
22 A. And repeat the same answer. I simply don't
23 recall what I included in that report. Just too much to
24 recall, I guess.
25 Q. Let's see. That would have been sent or
1 submitted to the Pope two years after you discovered the
2 molestation of children at St. Therese Parish?
3 A. It would have been 1983, and this occurred in
4 1981, correct.
5 Q. And would the, again, the next prior report have
6 been submitted in 1978?
7 A. Yes, sir.
8 Q. And the one prior to that would have been
9 submitted in 1973?
10 A. '73, by my predecessor.
11 Q. That's correct. And do you know if that was
12 submitted in 1973?
13 A. I have no knowledge of it. I have to presume
14 that he did.
15 Q. Have you ever seen it?
16 A. No, I have not seen his report.
17 Q. And where are copies of these reports kept?
18 A. Copies of my reports should be kept at the
19 chancery office.
20 Q. Has it been the policy of the Archidocese or of
21 the Pope for any interim reports to be sent to the Pope in
22 interim years?
23 A. No, sir. I don't recall any requests for
24 interim reports.
25 Q. Have any special reports been sent or any
1 reports, other than the ones you've described, have been
2 sent to the Pope during your tenure as Archbishop?
3 A. No special report, sir, no. There is occasion
4 to deal with various offices of the Holy SeA. As an
5 example, we have a tribunal that deals with marriages
6 annulments of marriages; and on occasions, very difficult
7 cases need to be submitted to the tribunal in Rome for
8 their final judgment. So it would be that type of
9 contact. But no reports, as you are considering here.
10 Q. Do you, as a matter of Church policy, report to
11 any other official of the Church who fits in the hierarchy
12 between yourself and the Pope?
13 A. There is the Pope's representative in the United
14 States. He is considered to be, at this time, a
15 pronuncio, officially the representative not only of the
16 Holy Father, but of the Vatican state to our country. He
17 resides in Washington, D.C.
18 If I have need to deal with some affair, some
19 concern, that should be brought to the attention of the
20 Holy Father, I would consult with his representative in
21 Washington and submit it to him for mailing in the
22 diplomatic pouch to Rome. If it's not of urgency, then I
23 would simply send it regular airmail to Rome and let it
24 through the regular process that way.
25 Q. Do you receive any guidance or instruction from
1 the pronuncio?
2 A. No, there is no direct guidance given. From
3 time to time, they do submit a document that one of the
4 sacred congregations in Rome might issue and ask to be
5 brought to the attention of all the bishops. For example,
6 a document on, say, the sacrament of confession and
7 guidelines for that, which have been either newly
8 established or they feel need to be brought to the
9 attention of priests once again. On those occasions, he
10 will submit documents to all the bishops in our country
11 for our information.
12 Another such document would be a letter, a formal
13 letter, written by our Holy Father, by the Pope, which is
14 going to be published for the whole world, but as a
15 courtesy, they will send copies of this to every
16 individual bishop in our country, rather than to wait for
17 us to have to go to a publishing company and pick it up
18 that way. That's the type of communication that we
19 normally receive.
20 Q. What about a cardinal; is there -- what is a
22 A. A cardinal is normally an archbishop. In the
23 country, all of the cardinals who are active, who are not
24 retired, are archbishops of their own archidocese. They
25 are given the title and the recognition as cardinal as a
1 special recognition of their outstanding service to the
2 Church and also as a compliment to the large
3 over which they have been asked to be the archbishop
5 In this nation, traditionally the cardinals have been
6 named to the large metropolitan centers in our country,
7 and the archbishops of those cities are normally named
8 cardinal because of it. The title sort of goes with the
10 As an example, Boston will have a cardinal, and they
11 do at this time; New York, Philadelphia, Chicago. St.
12 Louis does not have a cardinal at this time, because the
13 retired cardinal is still living, and Rome does not make
14 the archbishop a cardinal until his predecessor has died,
15 and then they'll grant that honor.
16 In the west, we have only one. Traditionally it's
17 been in the city of Los Angeles, so the Archbishop of
18 Angeles has also been granted the title of Cardinal.
19 Q. Do you have any reporting responsibilities to
20 any cardinal?
21 A. No, I do not. An archbishop or a bishop who is
22 the ordinary in his diocese is considered independent to
23 that degree, and he reports directly to the Holy Father,
24 or if the Holy Father so designates, he can deal with the
25 Holy Father's representative on any given issue. But we
1 don't report on any normal case to cardinals.
2 Now, a cardinal may be designated by the Holy Father
3 to head a certain project or program. In that case, then,
4 we would be obliged to report to him not because he is a
5 cardinal, but because he has been designated the primary
6 agent in that specific project.
7 Q. But with respect to the general affairs of the
8 Archidocese, you would report to and be responsible to
9 Pope directly?
10 A. Yes, sir.
11 Q. Has the Pope or any of his agents, if you will,
12 ever given you any guidance on how to handle priests
13 were accused of sexually molesting children?
14 A. No, sir, no specific guidance, guidelines or
15 directives have come to us from the Holy Sea regarding
16 to handle priests guilty of sexual molestation.
17 Q. Have you made any requests of the Pope at any
18 time for such guidelines?
19 A. No, sir, I have not.
20 Q. Why not?
21 A. I was not -- I did not feel concerned that I
22 needed additional guidelines. The Code of Canon Law
23 contains guidelines in the general law of the Church;
24 for any particular concerns, certainly dealing with the
25 spiritual concerns, I would be free to consult with any
1 other bishop in the country who might have some
2 in that areA.
3 But I did not feel that this was an issue that Italy
4 might be able to provide guidance on. Not every area of
5 the country, every area of the world, experiences the
6 pastoral needs as our experienced in another particular
8 Q. Have you consulted with any other bishop
9 anywhere at any time concerning how to address the
10 of priests who are sexually molesting children?
11 A. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops
12 sponsored a workshop in Collegeville, Minnesota, I
13 it was in 1986.
14 Q. Would that have been June 1985?
15 A. Possibly. I was just trying to recall it. It
16 was probably June 1985, to which all bishops were
17 to attend, and one of the principal workshops that were
18 offered on that occasion to the bishops concerned the
19 issue of sexual abuse by priests.
20 Q. Did you attend that workshop?
21 A. Yes, sir, I did.
22 Q. Did anyone else from the Archidocese attend?
23 A. No. It was just for the bishops. It was a
24 bishops' meeting.
25 Q. Who gave the workshop, if you recall?
1 A. There was a panel of speakers at the time. I
2 think the only person that I can recall in my memory right
3 now, who is was a member of that panel -- the panel was
4 composed of laiety, psychiatrists, as well as bishops.
5 And the only member that I can recall is a bishop named
6 Bishop Angel, and I cannot recall the other members. An
7 appropriate name.
8 Q. Certainly needed. Archbishop, at that workshop
9 in Collegeville, Minnesota, in June of 1985, what were
10 told or what did you learn concerning the issue of
11 molestation of children by priests?
12 A. You know, Mr. Bennett, it's really difficult to
13 be accurate in a recollection in this area, because I
14 tried to familiarize myself with whatever I can read. I
15 attended a second occasion -- or it wasn't a workshop. It
16 was a presentation at a bishops' meeting where reports --
17 or these speeches were given, and I don't know where I
18 learned what. It's sort of mixed up.
19 But it appears to me, and I'm just trying to recall
20 off the top of my head, that one of the issues that was
21 related to us at that time was that the concern of sexual
22 misconduct for priests was a concern for the entire
23 country, that bishops should not consider this a concern
24 relegated or located in one specific area, whether it be
25 metropolitan centers or rural areas or north or south, but
1 it was a universal concern.
2 We were encouraged to work closely with people of
3 knowledge in the field and with legal assistance to be
4 able to come up with some kind of policy, procedures, for
5 our respective diocese in reference to any sexual
6 allegation. I'm sure that they must have quoted facts and
7 figures or statistics about sexual molestation in the
8 country, the various kinds of therapy that had been
9 extended to perpetrators, not just priests, but in
10 general. And that, sir, is about all that I can
11 specifically recall.
12 What I have related in a very few brief sentences
13 really was fleshed out by the panel of speakers on that
14 occasion, which I think was geared specifically to
15 heighten the awareness of sexual abuse and that we
16 to start familiarizing ourselves with that concern.
17 Q. With respect to the guidelines that the
18 Archdiocese needed to institute to deal with this
19 what type of guidelines were discussed?
20 A. What to do -- well, they pointed out that, first
21 of all, any allegation against a priest, we have to
22 remember that he has certain canonical rights given to
23 by the Code of Canon Law; and therefore, any
24 and any action, any steps taken into that needed to --
25 needed to consult the Code of Canon Law to make
1 that you were proceeding properly and were not abridging
2 his rights in any way.
3 Secondly, that we needed to involve attorneys in any
4 allegations so that they became part and parcel of the
5 concern that was in front of us; what to do if an
6 allegation is brought against the priest, whether he is to
7 be removed immediately from his place of employment
8 an investigation is concluded or allow him to remain
9 until the investigation is concluded; the response to
10 people, to be able to meet with people who have come
11 in their concern, to show them the respect of the Church
12 and the concern of the Church, to assist them in every
13 way. I can't recall more details than that. That's about
15 Q. Weren't you advised at that time that it was
16 essential that allegations of sexual abuse by priests be
17 reported to the civil authorities?
18 A. It may very well have been part of the
19 instruction at that time, whoever must have given that
20 part of the presentation. I'm trying to recall these
21 facts. I'm not trying to eliminate facts. I'm trying to
22 recall them.
23 Q. I understand. Is that one of the facts you
25 A. I don't even -- I can't even swear that
1 everything I've related to you was exactly treated in that
2 session because, like I say, having been to a couple of
3 them, I'm not certain what facts were treated where. But
4 yes, that was included at one point or another.
5 Q. And did you receive any written materials or
6 written policy or guidelines or any other type of written
7 document at that meeting in June of 1985?
8 A. No, no packet was given to us at that meeting.
9 There were some sheets to follow the presenters who
10 making their presentations and who they were. But I
11 they were going to send a packet of information at some
12 later time for the information of the bishops, because not
13 all the bishops were present at that particular meeting.
14 Q. And they did send that packet at a later time?
15 A. I think they did. I can't exactly recall what
16 was in it, but I believe a packet was sent.
17 Q. And that would have been later that summer?
18 A. Sometime perhaps either late '85 or early '86.
19 I don't recall.
20 Q. And do you recall receiving that packet?
21 A. I don't have an active memory of it, but if they
22 sent it, it may very well have been received by myself,
24 Q. And do you know where that packet might be now?
25 A. No, sir. I couldn't say where that packet would
1 be at this time. A lot has gone on. We spent about two,
2 three years working on a policy and talking with priests,
3 and I shared what information I had with committees. So
4 I'm not certain where that information would be now.
5 Q. You instituted a written policy in 1990 that was
6 disseminated to your priests concerning the reporting of
7 sexual misconduct by priests?
8 A. Right.
9 Q. Why did it take five years from the National
10 Conference of Catholic Bishops in June of 1985 until
11 to formalize a written policy for the reporting of sexual
12 abuse by priests?
13 A. I don't recall when I asked a committee to begin
14 work on this. I do know that the committee was doing its
15 work for probably two years and perhaps better than two
16 years. It involved preliminary meetings with clergy to
17 advise them of this type of a policy and all that was
18 happening. It involved meeting with other people who
19 some knowledge of sexual misconduct, trying to identify
20 the area of concern. It just took time. And the
21 finalization of it and its final dissemination did not
22 occur until July 1, but the work on that document had
23 begun long before that.
24 Q. But this was a national crisis. Why did it take
25 five years to respond in your Archidocese to a national
2 A. I think the first contact in 1985, it was not a
3 crisis, but it was a concern. I think that would
4 characterize it well. I think it's become a crisis. But
5 at that time, it was certainly a concern.
6 Q. A national concern?
7 A. A national concern, that they wanted to surface
8 the awareness in every bishop to do whatever work they
9 could to get started on this. You wait for materials.
10 You try to meet with some professionals, and that's not
11 the only thing you're doing during that amount of time. I
12 mentioned earlier, we were giving the report to Rome in
13 1988, and all the rest of the activity of the Archidocese.
14 I cannot give you specific reasons why it was not
15 finalized until 1990. Perhaps commission members
16 speak to that. But the fact of the matter is it was
17 finalized, and it was disseminated, and we had
18 conducted for its dissemination, workshops for priests,
19 for religious and for laiety, for all employees, as well
20 as for volunteers, and workshops took another couple of
21 years to be able to complete.
22 Q. Could you have done it faster?
23 A. Anybody can do anything probably faster, but
24 sir, you have to get -- you have one team who is trying
25 conduct -- we have 93 parishes. We have 21 schools.
1 have 93 parishes, then, that have not only the priests but
2 laiety employees, as well as volunteers. All of these had
3 to be geared for each individual group as we went around.
4 That's not easily done. You don't go there every day.
5 You know the distances, first of all, in New Mexico, and
6 think that the team who was doing that was doing a
7 marvelous job trying to reach everyone and to organize
8 dates when they would be well received and people
9 present for it.
10 Q. Do you think you had any responsibility, as the
11 Archbishop of Santa Fe, prior to 1990 to report instances
12 of alleged sexual abuse of children by your priests to the
13 civil authorities?
14 A. Sir, I have to have it noted, as I gave in a
15 deposition nearly two years ago, that I was unaware of
16 existing statute in New Mexico law that required that
17 of reporting. If I had any type of concern on any
18 individual, I normally would share that with an attorney,
19 but I was unaware of that statute until the late 1980s.
20 MS. BURTRAM: I'm going to object to the
21 question. There is and never has been a law requiring
22 reporting, and that's a misstatement of the facts and the
23 law in New Mexico.
24 MR. BENNETT: Well, let's stick to my
25 question, which has nothing to do with your comment.
1 MR. TINKLER: He didn't mention the law.
2 Q. (By Mr. Bennett) Do you feel that you, as the
3 Archbishop of Santa Fe, had a duty to report the sexual
4 misconduct of your priests to civil authorities?
5 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: Objection. You're
6 saying a legal duty?
7 MR. BENNETT: I'm saying duty.
8 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: Calls for a legal
9 conclusion on the part of this witness, which he's unable
10 to give. In fact, it appears among a group of attorneys
11 there's some dispute about what the legal duty is.
12 A. I was unaware of any legal duty, and therefore
13 could not respond to a legal duty.
14 Q. Did you feel you had a responsibility, as
15 Archbishop of Santa Fe, a responsibility to your
16 parishioners, aside from any legal duty, do you feel you
17 had a moral responsibility, in your office as Archbishop,
18 to report these allegations of sexual molestation by your
19 priests to civil authorities?
20 A. I was -- I felt no obligation inasmuch as I was
21 unaware of any obligation.
22 Q. So you're saying that unless there was a law out
23 there that required you to do it, you wouldn't do it?
24 A. I think that people do not report things to the
25 authorities unless they need help from the authorities or
1 else they feel that there's an obligation to do that. It
2 just -- I don't feel an obligation at this time to report
3 an individual to the authorities for something else,
4 whatever it may be, that I'm unaware of. I wouldn't know
6 Q. If it came to your attention at any time during
7 your tenure as Archbishop that one of your priests had
8 stabbed and killed one of your parishioners, do you feel
9 that you would have a responsibility as Archbishop of
10 Santa Fe to report that priest to the authorities?
11 A. Yes, sir, and stabbing and killing a person I
12 know is a murder. It's a homicide, and that has to be
13 brought to the attention of the authorities.
14 Q. And for example, would you have brought to the
15 attention of the civil authorities, at any time during
16 your tenure as Archbishop, allegations that a priest was
17 dealing drugs in the parish?
18 A. To me, drug-dealing is contrary to the law of
19 our country, and I would have to bring that to their
21 Q. And so why would you feel that you wouldn't have
22 a responsibility to bring to the attention of civil
23 authorities allegations that your priests were sexually
24 assaulting and molesting the children of your
1 A. I think you have to characterize your question
2 that it wasn't "priests," as though there were 20s or 30s.
3 We're talking about here, I think, Father Jason Sigler.
4 And I did not bring that case to the attention of the
5 authorities because this occurred in 1981, and I certainly
6 had no idea that I had any obligation to bring that type
7 of an offense against a person to the authorities'
9 Q. Is that because that you felt that offense was
10 less heinous than a murder?
11 A. No, sir. I just felt that it was not something
12 that had to be brought to the attention of authorities. I
13 took the action that I took against the gentleman by
14 removing him from the place of assignment and
15 from the situation that might bring harm to others. That
16 was serious action against that man and against his
17 position. And we did our best to assure the families that
18 were there that their children would no longer be in
19 they need not be afraid, and to bring some type of
20 consolation and comfort to them. I did not realize that
21 there was any legal obligation to report this to the
23 Q. Did you know that what Jason Sigler did to the
24 children of your parishioners was a crime?
25 A. I did not know it was a crime, sir.
1 Q. So you did not feel, in your own heart of hearts
2 in 1981, that the sexual molestation of a child was a
4 A. Sir, in 1981, I did not understand that to be a
5 crime. I considered it to be a moral infraction of his
6 own life, and it was an offense against a child.
7 MR. WINTERBOTTOM: Can we take a break, Mr.
9 MR. BENNETT: That's fine.
10 MR. GOFFE: The time is 2:33. We will go
11 off the record. This will be the end of tape 10 in the
12 deposition of Archbishop Sanchez. The time, as
13 on the screen, is 2:39.
14 [A recess was taken.]