Families of three former students have filed lawsuits against Santo Niño Regional Catholic School, alleging that a teacher molested the children ($ TNM) while they attended the school between 2007 and 2016. The teacher, Aaron Dean Chavez, was convicted last year. The families haven't filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, because it's going bankrupt, but the suit did also name most Catholic churches in the area. In using a new tactic for these types of lawsuits, this one accuses the local churches of fraud for giving the impression that the school was a safe environment for children.
Changed their minds
A mother from Meadow Lake, east of Los Lunas, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison has had 18 of those years taken off her sentence. When her 15-year-old son killed another boy, Loretta Villalobos was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor (those are the counts for which she'll serve three years) and one count of negligent child abuse resulting in death (that was the 18-year one) for not anticipating that her son was violent and for not checking on the boys. This week, however, courts ruled that "it's not against the law to be irresponsible," and reversed the ruling of child abuse. Villalobos has already served more than two years of her now three-year sentence.
The Albuquerque Journal details a few of the laws that go into effect today. From a law that makes it easier to change your gender or to identify as nonbinary on your birth certificate, to one that lets you take home your half-drunk bottle of wine from a vineyard, to prohibiting anti-union "right to work" laws, there are various situations in which our lives will be made easier in ways big and small. (And probably a few laws that will irk you, too—but hey, that's life.)
This month, Albuquerque paid a $3.75 million settlement to the family of Rodrigo Garcia, who was severely injured in a police shooting in 2015. Garcia, then 20, was suspected of stealing an SUV, and cops fired into the vehicle at least 82 times, striking the unarmed Garcia seven times. Medical care for him was then delayed 90 minutes, which contributed to a brain injury that has now left him with the functional capacity of a 5-year-old. Garcia's mother will receive the significant settlement. The mayor's spokesman said that this was "one of the last few remaining cases pending from the previous administration and follows the many reforms at APD that have been instituted under Mayor [Tim] Keller."
This week's cover story in SFR comes via writer John R Roby, who explores explores how the number of unvaccinated children in New Mexico is increasing so dramatically. The measles outbreak that has hit 26 states has, thus far, caused one confirmed case in New Mexico, at a time when many counties have seen a steep increase in the number of children left uninoculated. Parents must apply to the state to receive approval to not vaccinate their kids; records reviews by SFR reveal that many of these applications are incomplete.
In big news for a small town, three new businesses offering a combined 180 jobs will soon call Moriarty home. The town has a population of about 1,800, so that many jobs is nothing to sneeze at (nor would it be even in a city our size). The businesses are a pipe manufacturer, transportation business and aerospace company.
Speaking of new businesses…
Development in Rio Arriba County should have a significant effect on many aspects of life for ranchers there, not the least of which that they won't have to ship their meat out of state to be processed. SFR's Leah Cantor takes a look at a processing plant in the works from C4 Farms owner Tommy Casados.
Stop the fires?
New rules about prescribed burns and riparian restoration could affect 50,000 acres of national forest around Santa Fe, and residents have until July 10 to submit comments about the Santa Fe Mountains Landscape Resiliency Project. SFR has the story, and once you learn more and develop an opinion, head to public meetings or comment online (all the info on how to do so is at that link).
Thanks for reading! The Word is musing on this story—seems like there's a lot more to know…