During his deposition under oath in 1994, Archbishop Robert Sanchez testified that he did not know that sexual molestation of a child was a crime.
This is an excerpt from Archbishop Robert Sanchez’s January 15, 1994, deposition testimony:
14 [BY MR. BENNETT] 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 [BY ARCHBISHOP SANCHEZ] 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