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'60 Minutes' sex-abuse investigation raises speculation in Albuquerque.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After a crew from the CBS network program "60 Minutes" arrived in Albuquerque, N.M., to interview Catholics regarding what was described as a "sex-abuse scandal," and after church attorneys tried to silence an attorney involved in 29 clergy sexual-abuse cases by means of a restraining order, the level of speculation and anxiety among Catholics was on the rise there last week.

Sources in Albuquerque told NCR last week that "60 Minutes" had tried to speak with clergy sexual-abuse victims, including women. Another source said the investigative team has been for several weeks interviewing experts on clergy sexual-abuse and adherence by clergy to the vow of celibacy.

"There are rumors the media have some information that the people don't have. Everyone's just holding their breath waiting to see what it is," one priest told NCR.

Christina Spahn, codirector of the Albuquerque Center for Action and Contemplation, a training center for activists, said: "I have a feeling we're sitting on a powder keg. The church has never dealt with sexuality."

Adding to speculation was a television report that showed Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" attempting to conduct interviews during a local religious pilgrimage.

The Santa Fe archdiocese April 30 filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to silence attorney Bruce Pasternack. The archdiocese also asked that records pertaining to the motion be sealed, but District Judge Gerald Cole refused to comply.

"It is essentially a request to have judges involved in these cases define the rules we're going to play by," attorney Al Green, who represents the arcbdiocese, told the local press.

However, Pasternack said the motion was an attempt to stop the public from learning the "true extent of the molestation of New Mexico children by church authorities."

The motion came as attorneys for the two sides were negotiating to settle more than two dozen cases dating back to 1991. However, the legal move stopped the negotiations, at least temporarily.

The archdiocesan motion argued that the defense of the archdiocese will be "irreparably harmed" if it cannot prepare its case "free from threats of disclosure or actual disclosure to the news media of irrelevant, inflammatory and prejudicial information."

Asked about that allegation, Pasternack responded he did not think any information about the molestation cases was irrelevant.
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Title Annotation:clergy sex abuse
Author:Martinez, Demetria
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Mar 12, 1993
Words:380
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