Former Santa Fe Catholic pastor arrested in clergy abuse case

Albuquerque Journal/June 29, 2023

By Olivier Uyttebrouck and Colleen Heild 

Sante Fe, New Mexico – The former pastor of Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Community in New Mexico has been arrested. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe said the arrest is related to a clergy sexual abuse case.

Daniel Balizan was booked into the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility on Thursday, June 29. Federal court records reveal that a grand jury has charged Balizan with knowingly enticing an underage victim for sexual activity in the fall of 2022, but the indictment is only an allegation, and Balizan is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe said they reported the alleged abuse to authorities in 2022. At the time Balizan was also removed from his role as pastor.

“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe reaffirms its zero tolerance and unwavering dedication to ensuring the safety and well-being of its community members, especially the vulnerable. It emphasizes its ongoing commitment to transparency, accountability, and support for survivors of abuse,” the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said in a press release.

Balizan also faces an ongoing civil lawsuit from an unnamed person who alleges Balizan groomed the individual when they were only 15 years old. The individual also alleges Balizan sexually abused them.

Balizan responded to similar allegations in a civil case initiated in 2022. In a filing to the district court case, Balizan denied the allegations.

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