John Block

UPDATED: New Mexicans holding July 31 statewide school mask protest

While a majority of states in the country have no school mask mandate, New Mexico’s schoolchildren are still being forced to wear masks, even when playing outdoor sports in 100+ degree heat, according to the group New Mexico Freedoms Alliance.

“It’s not healthy for children to breathe through masks because the reduced oxygen and increased carbon dioxide is dangerous,” the group contends, adding that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s “recent change to allow vaccinated athletes to be unmasked is not enough; ALL students must be allowed to unmask, regardless of their vaccination status.”

So, on Saturday, July 31, citizens are organizing protests against school mask policies statewide, from Albuquerque to Carlsbad. So far, seven cities are participating, but the list of areas joining in the effort is expected to grow.

  • ALAMOGORDO – 2pm – Corner of 10th Street and White Sands Blvd – Contact Ben at 575-921-5650 or
  • ALBUQUERQUE – 10am – 1005 Osuna, Vista del Norte Park – Contact Erin at or Karen at
  • ARTESIA – 10am – Corner of Main & 7th – Contact Stacey at 575-343-1234• BELEN – 10am – Corner of Main and Reinken – Contact Regina at 505-550-0918• CARLSBAD – 1pm – Eddy County Courthouse Lawn – Contact Christy Bryant at 575-361-7779
  • CLOVIS – TUESDAY AUG 3 at 11:30am – Clovis Municipal School Central Office, 1009 N Main St – Contact
  • DEMING – 10am – Deming Public Schools Emmett Shockley Building, 400 Cody Road
  • EDGEWOOD – 10am – Corner of Rout 66 and 344 – Contact Karisa at
  • FARMINGTON – 10am – Main Street, Grassy Area in Front of Applebee’s, Near the Mall– Contact Lorna at 480-589-3856
  • LAS CRUCES – 10am – Albert Johnson Park on corner of Main and Picacho – Contact Daniel at
  • LOGAN – 10am – Cowboy Chuckwagon Parking Lot, 122 HWY 154 – Contact Tonya at 970-396-2222
  • LOS LUNAS – 10am – Corner of Los Cerritos and Main Street, in front of Applebee’s – Contact Valerie at 505-261-2209
  • MORIARTY – 10am – Crossly Park, at corner of Route 66 and HWY 41
  • PORTALES – 10am – Courthouse on the square – Contact Nicole at
  • RIO RANCHO – 10am – Corner of Southern and 528
  • ROSWELL – 10am – 912 N Main St, in front of Roswell Convention Center – Contact Daniel at 575-937-8476 or
  • RUIDOSO – 10am – School House Park, 501 Sudderth Drive – Contact Shane at 575-937-4948 or
  • SANTA FE – 10:30am – Salvador Perez Train Park at 601 Alta Vista – Contact Kristi at 505-204-8261 or
  • SILVER CITY – 10am – Gough Park, Corner of 12th St and Pope St
  • TUCUMCARI – 10am – Corner of First and Route 66 Blvd, next to the old Hardee’s – Contact Fran at 575-403-5758 or

If your location is not on the list, the organization asks citizens to volunteer to lead a protest in their underrepresented area. “Select a high-visibility location, and then we will help spread the word, make a flyer for you to use, help with press/media outreach, etc. Please email Sarah at to get involved,” writes the Alliance.

The group has organized anti-forced school masking rallies previously across the state, with much success. But as the school year comes right around the corner, the added pressure on the governor is critical in stopping these mandates from continuing.

Democrat state rep. who sponsored abortion up-to-birth bill takes a jab at pro-life Catholic bishop

On Sunday, in an op-ed published in the Las Cruces Sun-News, state Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena (D-Doña Ana) came to the defense of her colleague in the New Mexico Senate, Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana), who was denied Holy Communion because he voted for the radical abortion up-to-birth and infanticide S.B. 10. 

Cadena chastised the cleric, Bishop Peter Baldacchino, for withholding the Most Blessed Sacrament from Cervantes, despite giving Cervantes multiple unanswered warnings that he would not receive the Eucharist in his diocese if he voted to kill children in the womb with the passage of S.B. 10. 

“I’m still feeling the sting of what happened in deeply personal ways,” wrote Cadena, sponsored the extreme anti-life bill. “The cultural war being waged by overreaching American bishops couldn’t come at a worse time for women and pregnant people in our country.” 

Cadena appears to be claiming Bishop Baldacchino, who has the authority to withhold the Eucharist to those who are not in full communion with the faith, is “overreaching” despite hin having the authority and acting rightly according to Canon Law. 

The far-left state representative tried to brush over her and Cervantes’ longstanding support for the gruesome practice of abortion, claiming, “As a mama, Chicana and Catholic raised in this diocese, I know pregnancy is sacred.” If she thought of pregnancy as “sacred,” then she should not be in support of tearing children in the womb limb from limb with forceps, sucking children’s bodies out of the mother with a vacuum, or giving women unsafe drugs to forcibly expel their children from the womb, leaving the mother in agonizing pain. 

“And while select voices within the church hierarchy may think they can dictate what’s best for our families and chastise us if we fail to act according to their views, our faith also teaches us to care for our fellowship by caring for our communities,” she added.

However, the Bible directly says what the job of a pastor is. 1 Timothy 4:2-5 clearly states, “proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.”

Baldacchino is standing up for not only what the Bible says, but for what the church teaches in practice. The bishop guided Cervantes in the right direction, with patience (such as his multiple letters of warning), and let Cervantes know the grave consequences of his actions. Despite if Cervantes listened to the truth or not, Baldacchino performed the work of an evangelist and did all he could to divert the senator from the myths and evil associated with abortion.

Cadena, despite all her rhetoric and titles she has bestowed upon herself as a “Chicana,” “Catholic,” and “mama,” she, as well as Cervantes disobey the faith of which they purport to belong by voting to destroy God’s most sacred creation in the womb. Chastising a bishop for doing his job will not fare well for Cadena or Cervantes come Judgement Day when they must answer for their crimes against God’s creation.

Keller wants taxpayers to foot the bill for ‘New Mexico United’ stadium boondoggle

On Saturday, during a “tailgate” party for the Albuquerque-based liberal soccer team “New Mexico United,” Albuquerque Democrat Mayor Tim Keller joined the crowd to make a major announcement about the team’s future.

During the event, Keller said “We are sending a resolution to the council on Monday to put a bond for a new stadium on the ballot this November,” another boondoggle that taxpayers will no doubt be stuck footing the bill for, much like the ART (Albuquerque Rapid Transit) project, which has been widely criticized as a failure. The bond would raise taxes on Albuquerque residents, already hurting due to Democrat Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s strict lockdown that killed 40% of New Mexico businesses.

According to the Denver-based consulting firm CAA Icon, the stadium would cost between $65 and $70 million.

At the tailgate event, Keller took the stage with the team’s owner Peter Trevisani (who was wearing a Black Lives Matter-inspired fist t-shirt) and made the announcement while holding a flag for the City of Albuquerque. The team has long been a proponent of the Marxist Black Lives Matter hate group and the LGBT agenda.

The sites under consideration for the proposed new stadium are the Railyard Site, Coal and Broadway, 12th and I-40, and 2nd and Iron. 
Keller has long been known to have Albuquerque taxpayers foot the bill for expensive projects, such as his $30,000 rainbow crosswalk and the creation of the city’s “Office of Equity and Inclusion.”

Keller faces a tough re-election with Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales running for the job and outraising the incumbent mayor.

Cease and desist notice sent to LANL over face mask, vaccine, testing mandates

On Friday, the public interest legal group New Mexico Stands Up! sent a cease and desist notice on behalf of “a large group of employees” at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The order was addressed to Thomas Mason, the laboratory director for LANL.

“This letter serves as formal notice to cease and desist all actions related to mandates requiring employees to wear a face mask, submit to COVID-19 tests or be injected with the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. As more particularly described below, such a mandate is in direct violation of State and Federal Law, and if the dispute escalates or results in a constructive or retaliatory firing or suspension, a lawsuit may be brought against you,” the letter reads. 

The legal group argues that because the testing, vaccinations, and masks are all authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under “Emergency Use Authorization,” that does not equate to approval by the Department. 

NM Stands Up! uses a quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) chief medical officer of the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases who stated, “I just wanted to add that, just wanted to remind everybody, that under an Emergency Use Authorization, an EUA, vaccines are not allowed to be mandatory. So, early in this vaccination phase, individuals will have to be consented and they won’t be able to be mandated.”

Also cited was data regarding adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, including illness and even deaths related to the inoculation. “As of July 9, 2021, VAERS reported 463,456 adverse events, including 10,991 deaths, from the COVID-19 vaccines,” the legal group wrote, adding that Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of internal medicine at Baylor University estimates that there are at least 50,000 deaths in the United States so far relating to the vaccination. 

Among other evidence cited, regarding mandatory testing, NM Stands Up! quoted the CDC, which previously noted that “It is unethical and illegal to test someone who does not want to be tested, including students whose parents or guardians do not want them to be tested.”

As of May 2021, the CDC’s previous statement had been updated to say, “Testing should not be conducted without informed consent from the individual being tested (if an adult) or the individual’s parent or guardian (if a minor). Informed consent requires disclosure, understanding, and free choice and is necessary for teachers and staff (who are employees of a school) and students’ families to act independently and make choices according to their values, goals, and preferences.”

The legal group wrote, “Employees at LANL have stated they are being retaliated against, discriminated against and being subjected to a hostile work environment as a result of not taking the injection. This includes being kept in a segregated area and not being allowed to join in certain socializing events. This is not acceptable.” 

“An employee has advised us that the employee’s supervisor had access to his health information and was sharing that with others. New Mexico recognizes invasion of privacy as a tort and a constitutional violation. We demand that whatever policies or procedures you are utilizing that gives access to employees’ health and medical information be ceased.” 

The allegations against LANL come after employees in May told the Piñon Post that the labs were running a “coercion campaign” to “force” injection of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite it not being approved by the FDA. Now, these shocking revelations in the cease and desist order lead to even more concern regarding LANL employees’ safety and privacy.

Pro-abortion Dem who was denied Communion wants to receive Eucharist at Biden’s parish

In another apparent attempt at drawing out his time in the spotlight, state Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana), who was denied the Eucharist at a Las Cruces-area monastery, had yet another interview about the experience. In the interview with Axios, Cervantes said he hopes to someday receive Holy Communion at Joe Biden’s parish.

Despite Cervantes being told by both Las Cruces Bishop Peter Baldacchino and St. Albert the Great Newman Center pastor Kevin Waymel the consequences of his vote to support the killing of children in the womb, he did anyway, despite his faith and his pastors forbidding it.

“In a personal letter to Senator Cervantes, his pastor advised him that a vote in favor of this particular Senate bill would constitute a grave moral evil and that he should not present himself for Communion,” the diocese said in a statement.

Now, Cervantes tells Axios “I won’t have any problem finding to place to receive Communion.” He added, “In fact, I look forward one day to receiving Communion at the same parish where … Biden does.”

Cervantes also voted for an anti-life assisted suicide via lethal drugs bill, which would give a lethal dose of drugs through a “cocktail” to a terminally ill patient. Proponents of the bill claimed it was “death with dignity,” seeming to say people who live with their illnesses are dying without dignity, be it via their conditions or natural causes. The Axios bill erroneously claims Cervantes is a “conservative Democrat.”

Despite these votes, if Cervantes chooses to receive Communion in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, he will be met with open arms by Archbishop John C. Wester, despite the Archbishop saying the assisted suicide bill Cervantes voted for was “the worst in the nation.” 

The Bible, as well as Church doctrine, affirms that receiving the Eucharist while not in full communion with the church is not only a grave offense, but it can make the recipient physically ill.

Corinthians 1:11 Verses 27-30

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord.*

A person should examine himself,* and so eat the bread and drink the cup.

For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.

According to the Code of Canon Law, “A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.” TITLE III, THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST (Cann. 916)

BernCo GOP chair calls Republicans critical of her leadership ‘insurrectionists’

On Wednesday afternoon, Bernalillo County Republican Party chair Julie Wright sent out an email blasting her Republican opponents, many of whom being elected and formerly elected leaders, calling them “insurrectionists.”

The email comes after Wright’s opponents have been critical of her over her failure to support Republican candidates, win elections, and show “transparency,” and previously attempted to have a vote to oust her from the leadership of the Bernalillo County Republican Party.

In an email calling for her removal via a call for a County Central Committee Meeting, the concerned members cite rule 3-1-4 D USR “Removal of County Officers,” which reads: 

 Any officer of a County Central Committee may be removed by a two-thirds vote of all the members of the County Central Committee present in person at a meeting properly called for the purpose and attended by at least 51% of the entire membership of the committee. In such voting, proxies shall not be recognized. 

However, according to what Wright previously told the Albuquerque Journal, “The party’s executive committee has ruled the dissenters have fallen short of the requirements needed to call a special meeting this week,” and “a state Republican Party rules committee was reviewing the matter but added the meeting would be invalid under the current ruling.”

The letter was signed by the former state Reps. Janice Arnold Jones and David Adkins, Harry Lord, the husband to current state Rep. Stefani Lord, APS School Board candidate Ali Ennenga, former state Legislature candidate Giovanni Coppola, former First Congressional District candidate Michaela Chavez, among many others. 

In Wright’s Wednesday night email, she tried to rebut the claims made by the scores of County Central Committee members and blasted those dissenters, writing, “What might seem to be an angry mob looking to remove the County Chair is really a handful of insurrectionists who are powered by ego and selfishness.  Ask yourself – has this helped the Party?  Does this shed a good light on Republicans or on the cause of conservatism?  Absolutely not.”

She added, “I often hear that ‘The Democrats are beating us – they have more money and a large group of volunteers!’  Yes, they do.  But do you know what else they have?  They have the understanding that being united is to conquer yet to divide is to fall.  They follow their elected leadership and that is what I ask of you.”

There has long been friction in the Bernalillo County GOP between the Julie Wright wing versus the more conservative wing, with Wright’s hand-selected executive director Geoff Snider branded the New Mexico Trump Victory team “Nazis” and on another occasion said the Bernalillo County GOP was not interested in help from Scott Presler, a conservative activist who has been registering voters around the country.

MLG’s DOH let veterans home keep ‘four disabled veterans to a room’ during pandemic

In a new “scathing” report from the Legislative Finance Committee (FLC), scandal-ridden Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Department of Health “failed to ensure proper infection control” at the New Mexico State Veterans Home in Truth or Consequences.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez (D-Santa Fe) told them “[t]he facility, she said, houses four disabled veterans to a room.” The facility had 28 people die from COVID-19. 

But Lujan Grisham’s cabinet secretary for Human Services (and now the Department of Health) Dr. David Scrase defended the department.

“He told lawmakers that even the most well-funded private nursing homes in New Mexico faced difficulty limiting the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. The veterans home, Scrase said, was particularly challenging, given the layout of the building, with four people to a room,” reports the Journal.

“What happened at the veterans home,” he said, “is about the same as what happened throughout the entire state and, in my opinion, based on design issues, could have been much worse.”

But state analysts don’t agree with Scrace’s attempt to downplay responsibility. The 28 deaths at the facility equaled 19% of the facility’s 145-bed capacity, a percentage higher than the state average, according to an LFC analyst. 

The 28 deaths at the veterans home – which occurred over several months late last year – equaled 19% of the facility’s 145-bed capacity, according to the LFC report. The percentage was higher than the state average, one analyst told lawmakers. The LFC report says the veterans home’s coronavirus deaths ​​“were exacerbated by inadequate oversight,” with other practices such as staffers not changing personal protective equipment between visiting patients, among other issues. 

State Rep. Patricia Lundstrom (D-Gallup) who chairs the LFC, urged the Lujan Grisham administration to use federal stimulus funds to build a new Truth or Consequences facility for these veterans. 

“With this high-risk population, we need to do something, and we need to do it sooner than later,” said Lundstrom. 

In December, Lujan Grisham announced New Mexico hospitals were on the brink of “rationing care” while last April, Lujan Grisham’s administration evicted scores of nursing home patients, some even in their 90s and one aged 102. 

Following the news, Republican Governor’s Association spokesman Will Reinert said, “Instead of working to take care the disabled men and women who fought to keep our country free as COVID-19 ravaged their living quarters, Governor Lujan Grisham dined on taxpayer-funded wagyu beef.” He added, “If Grisham won’t even work to protect New Mexico’s veterans, don’t expect her to fight for families struggling to put food on the table or to clean up Albuquerque’s crime-ridden streets.”

No GOP contender for state auditor yet as second Dem announces

On Tuesday, Democrat Public Regulation Commissioner Joe Maestas, 60, confirmed to the Santa Fe New Mexican that he is running to be New Mexico’s next state auditor following one other Democrat already in the race, former ombudsman Zackary Quintero, 30, who served under Gov. Lujan Grisham. Quintero lost a race for Albuquerque City Council two years ago.

Maestas was a former Española city councilor, former Santa Fe city councilor, and unsuccessful candidate for the Santa Fe mayorship before winning a seat on the PRC his second time running.

Quintero says he served as ombudsman for 10 months and that he has a close relationship with Lujan Grisham, who may endorse him for the race. He has the endorsements of multiple far-left state legislators, including appointed Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Bernalillo), Rep. Gail Chasey (D-Bernalillo), and Rep. Andrea Romero (D-Santa Fe).

Maestas is running for Auditor instead of vying for Lujan Grisham’s appointment to the PRC, which is set to be governor-appointed in 2023. Maestas says since Lujan Grisham endorsed his opponent for PRC, so it would likely mean she would not keep him on the commission if she is reelected in 2022. 

With Quintero and Maestas competing for the Democrat nomination for state auditor, a Republican has still yet to file to run for the office — a critical position that would oversee finances of New Mexico agencies and hold local and state governments accountable for their use of funds.

Current Auditor Brian Colón is running for Attorney General, leaving the position an open seat, and a better opportunity for a Republican pickup — if a Republican ran for the seat.

The two Democrats already in the race will have a fundraising edge on whatever GOP candidate announces, making it that much more important for the Republicans to field a viable candidate.

The Auditor’s office has long been used as a launching pad for higher office rather than its purpose to oversee government entities. Colón is only in his first term and is already leaving to pursue a job as the state’s top law enforcer, while former Auditor Tim Keller left the gig after just a little over two years for the mayorship of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s most populous city. Current attorney general Hector Balderas, who is term-limited, previously served as state auditor, and Colón appears to be vying for his career path. 

City of ABQ opts to pay off watchdog group rather than release public records

On Monday, the nonprofit watchdog group Rio Grande Foundation announced that after 18 months of litigation, the City of Albuquerque had settled with the group through mediation after the group repeatedly tried to obtain public records.

“The voters of Albuquerque defeated Democracy Dollars in November of 2019, and the Rio Grande Foundation’s exposure of numerous flaws in the proposal played a pivotal role in the downfall of the ballot measure. Furthermore, the Foundation filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Tim Keller for his use of the City’s website ( in which he specifically called for voters to approve Democracy Dollars. Mayor Keller’s actions were found to be in violation of city ordinance by the Board of Ethics and Campaign Practices,” the Rio Grande Foundation wrote in a press release.

Following the ethics complaint filed by the group’s policy analyst Patrick Brenner, the Rio Grande Foundation requested a reasonable collection of text messages and emails sent to and from specific city employees leading up to the posting of Mayor Keller’s pleas on the city’s website to vote “YES.”

“On May 12, 2020, after exhausting all other avenues to obtain these public records, which included assistance from the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government when Director Melanie Majors sent a letter of complaint to no avail, the Rio Grande Foundation filed a legal complaint in District Court against the city,” the release reads.

But the group was reportedly ignored by City Clerk Ethan Watson and the Custodian of Records Yvette Gurule when asked if the records had been deleted.

Through the mediation process, the Rio Grande Foundation says it received a “sizable settlement” from the City rather than improving its public records process or releasing records.

[READ NEXT: Tim Keller, who was found guilty of ethics violations, now accuses opponent of similar charges]

‘Keep quiet’: Archbishop Wester reportedly covered up, fumbled pedophilic sexual abuse cases

John C. Wester, the Archbishop of Santa Fe, has long been vocal on political issues, such as the embrace of weak immigration laws, support for the elimination of centuries-old Hispanic cultural traditions, and blasting the prohibition of the Eucharist to those not in full communion with the Catholic Church as “tone-deaf.” 

Wester has also run cover for priests, such as Father Vincent Chávez. Chávez outright endorsed Democrat political candidates, placed a statue of the baby Jesus in a cage as political demonstrations, and persecuted a now-deceased clergy member — even questioning if he will see them in Heaven.

During the pandemic, Wester shut down church services — denying the faithful the Eucharist, supported the closure of the El Santuario de Chimayó and Tomé Hill pilgrimages focused on spiritual healing, and even shamelessly teamed up with alleged sexual predator Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to push mask mandates. 

Wester, who served as the vicar for clergy before being ordained auxiliary bishop of San Francisco in 1998 by then-Archbishop William J. Levada, handled multiple clerical sexual abuse cases. Levada, who later served as the high-ranking prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under then-Pope Benedict XVI, was widely criticized for his dereliction of duty in overseeing sexual abuse cases before his death in 2019.

Notably, while Archbishop of Portland from 1986 to 1995, Levada’s reign led to the first bankruptcy of an American diocese in 2005, with the Portland Archdiocese spending $53 million to settle over 100 sexual abuse cases.

Wester Told Priest Who Reported Abuse of Minor to ‘Keep Quiet’: Report

During the years and decades leading up to his controversial reign as Archbishop of Santa Fe, Wester had been involved in handling multiple sexual harassment cases, including those involving children and alleged pedophilic priests. On numerous occasions, Wester was reported to have brushed off abuse.

On November 6, 1997, according to sworn testimony by the late Father John Conley of St. Catherine of Sienna parish in Burlingame, California, Conley found Father James Aylward, the pastor of the church, “wrestling” in the dark with a 15-year-old boy. When asking the boy who was with him in the dark, the child reluctantly told Conley that it was Aylward. Conley said the priest “crawled away.” 

Immediately following the incident, Conley called the San Francisco chancery office to speak to Levada and contacted the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office. When he called the chancery office, he reached then-auxiliary Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, who Conley said had “reservations” about getting involved in the matter and who wanted to call Aylward to inform him that he was being discussed. When waiting for the archdiocesan lawyer to arrive, McGrath asked him, “are you sure you want to [report] this?”

San Francisco (SF) Weekly reported:

Not long after Conley’s Nov. 17, 1997 meeting with McGrath, he says, he received a call from Wester, the vicar for clergy, advising him to “keep quiet” about Aylward and not damage the priest’s “good name and reputation.” Conley says Wester said he had spoken with Levada and that “the archbishop forbids you to use the word pedophile” in relation to Aylward.

A few minutes later, Conley says, Wester called back to say he had just spoken to the archbishop and that Levada had also instructed Conley “not to tell the sisters” about the incident, an apparent reference to nuns assigned to the parish. Chafing at the constraints, Conley told Wester that he did not “deal well with the F word — forbid” and that as a grown man he knew “how to use vocabulary” in describing what he had seen.

Following the exchange with Wester, which resulted in a meeting between Conley and Levada, Conley brought along a tape recorder for his own protection. But once he refused to power it off, Archbishop Levada ousted Conley from St. Catherine’s parish, transferring him to a church retreat in Menlo Park. 

Aylward was not transferred until months later to a Marin County parish. Marin County is where the church reportedly sent sexual abusers. “While the archdiocese strongly disapproves of a priest wrestling with a youth, Aylward’s lapse of judgment does not warrant a witch hunt against a man who has been a good priest for 34 years,” the archbishop’s spokesman, Maurice Healy, told the San Mateo County Times.

But the boy’s family sued the archdiocese resulting in a startling admission by Aylward that he touched underage boys for sexual gratification. Levada reportedly authorized a $750,000 payout to the boy, halting the boy’s court action. But remember, Wester did not want to damage the priest’s “good name and reputation,” nor did he want to use the word “pedophile” to describe Aylward.

Wester Did Not Act on Abuse of 11-Year-Old Girl: Report

Sylvia Chavez, who attended San Francisco’s Church of the Epiphany with her family, said she was sexually assaulted by Father Theodore “Teddy” Baquedano-Pech on multiple occasions when she was 11. Chavez alleged that Baquedano-Pech kissed and fondled her, saying, “The first time he kissed my mouth, the kiss was so strong that my mouth actually hurt for a long time afterward.” She added that she was “confused and frightened” and didn’t dare tell anyone of the priest’s abuse, for her family and others held him in high esteem.

“[Father Teddy] would come over and say, ‘Where’s Sylvia?’ and my mother would say, ‘Oh, she’s up in her room,’ and he would come upstairs and molest me,” Chavez says.

SF Weekly reported:

Sometimes [Baquedano-Pech] partially undressed and climbed into her bed, rubbing his penis against her, she says. Once, she says, he even groped her under the table during a family meal. In a confessional booth at the church one Sunday she told the priest what he was doing seemed wrong, prompting him to reply, “‘It’s OK. Don’t worry about it. Go home,’” she says. “That very night he came to the house and molested me again, and it just continued.” The abuse, she says, stretched over several months.

When Father Teddy departed for his next clerical station — South Korea — by passenger ship, she and her entire family were at the waterfront to see him off. “I remember standing there watching members of my family wave from the dock and thinking that I knew something horrible that they didn’t know.” The abuse didn’t end with the priest’s departure, she says. During a visit to San Francisco two years later, Father Teddy took advantage of her epilepsy by fondling her as she lay immobile and helpless across a bed during a seizure, she claims.

But her worst single fright was when Father Teddy came for an overnight visit in 1972. Chavez, then 16, spent a sleepless night with a chair braced against her bedroom door, afraid the priest would slip into her room after the rest of her family had gone to sleep, she says. The next morning, while she was alone in her mother’s bedroom, Father Teddy, wearing his clerical collar, grabbed her and tried to pull her pants down, she says. She says he let go after she threatened to expose him.

Chavez later had a meeting with then-Auxiliary Bishop John Wester about Baquedano-Pech, who was then stationed in Mexico, resulting in Wester promising to do everything he could to find Father Teddy. After agreeing to detail her abuse in a letter, Wester said he would send the letter to Baquedano-Pech’s superior, Archbishop Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzarán of Mérida. But according to SF Weekly, “The next month, at a meeting of abuse victims at the chancery office, she asked if he had heard anything and was flabbergasted to learn that he had misplaced the letter. But, Wester added, he had finally sent it that very day.”

When Archbishop Berlie Belaunzarán was slated to visit San Francisco, Chavez said she called Wester to arrange a meeting with the Archbishop, but Wester “nixed the idea,” saying Berlie Belaunzarán’s schedule was “too crowded.” 

Following the visit, Chavez says Wester called her to say he spoke with the Archbishop and that Father Teddy was to be kept away from children. However, Chavez had hired Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson to help her.

From San Francisco Weekly’s report:

In a Feb. 3 letter — two months after Chavez says Wester assured her that the Mérida archbishop had been notified — Berlie wrote that he had not known of Chavez’s allegations until informed by Anderson. In his letter, a copy of which was obtained by SF Weekly, Berlie says that until hearing from Chavez’s attorney, he “was without any complaints of any kind” regarding Father Teddy. He adds that “following [Anderson’s] request we have taken all the precautions in accord with [the lawyer’s] prudent advice to restrict” the priest’s contacts with children.

While declining to discuss details, Wester nonetheless defends his role, telling SF Weekly that he informed Archbishop Berlie of Chavez’s allegations both verbally and in writing. He says he mailed a letter about Chavez to Berlie on Dec. 2, but could not be specific about when he spoke with the Mexican archbishop.

Wester Fumbled Account of Allegedly Abused 8-Year-Old Girl

Danielle Lacampagne claimed that when she was eight years old, Father Daniel Carter “placed his hand inside her clothing and fondled her breasts and vagina while he was a guest in the family home,” according to SF Weekly. This allegedly happened when Carter was a teacher at Notre Dame des Victoires Parochial School, which Lacampagne attended. During the controversial case, Wester, who was working on it, fumbled Lacampagne’s account.

SF Weekly wrote

The report, in which her name was misspelled and the month she was alleged to have first contacted Wester was inaccurate, erroneously portrayed the nature of her abuse as vaginal penetration, which Lacampagne says she never asserted. It also said the alleged molestation occurred in the bedroom of her home. She says Carter fondled her at the dining room table, after she had come downstairs in her pajamas to say good night, and while her parents and siblings were elsewhere in the house.

The inaccurate statement reportedly fueled the fire for Carter’s supporters, which led to a more than $100,000 war chest and postcard campaign, resulting in Carter being reinstated. This is just another example of Wester’s involvement in sexual abuse cases during his time in San Francisco resulting in either no action taken by Wester or inaccuracies occurring when action finally happened.

Wester Kept Pedophilic Priest In Post Despite Credible Warnings from Accuser

Joe Piscitelli said Rev. Stephen Whelan sexually assaulted him as a 14-year-old freshman at Salesian High School in Richmond, California. “Groping, fondling, he would stick his hands down my pants,” said Piscitelli. He added, “The very last incident I had with him we went upstairs, he dragged me into this room, he started ripping off my clothes and he raped me.”

Piscitelli says that in a meeting with John Wester telling him, “Here’s a guy that I know is a rapist, that I’m suing for sexual molestation, who is working with kids at a Catholic Church in San Francisco.” Despite his warnings, Wester did not remove Whelan.

Whelan remained in his post at Saints Peter and Paul, which serves children pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, for the next three years as Piscitelli’s lawsuit wound its way through California’s Second District Court. Piscitelli later won the lawsuit in 2006, and Whelan was removed from his duties.

“I know Joe (Piscitelli) was not pleased because the board did not rule immediately the way he wanted,” Wester said. “My recollection is that we were extremely thorough.”

During that time, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who currently sits in the role of vice president, “never responded to him when he wrote to tell her that a priest who had molested him was still in ministry at a local Catholic cathedral,” according to NBC Bay Area. “And, he says, she didn’t reply five years later when he wrote again, urging her to release records on accused clergy to help other alleged victims who were filing lawsuits.” 

Alleged Abuse by Ex-Cathedral Rector Fr. Adam Ortega y Ortiz

In 2013, shortly before Wester was installed as Archbishop in 2015, former music director, Xavier Gonzales, for the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi — the mother church of the Archdiocese — accused the then-rector, Fr. Adam Ortega y Ortiz of “crude and inappropriate” behavior, including “an inability to keep his hands to himself.” Gonzales was later let go.

“I don’t think it’s necessary to kiss, pat on the stomach, rub a chest, twist a nipple or spank… buttocks to say ‘hi,’” he wrote. 

“I stand behind my 21 years as a priest with my shortcomings and weaknesses doing my best to serve His Catholic Church,” wrote Ortega y Ortiz. The Church was reported to be “investigating” the priest’s alleged misconduct and dismissed the accusation in the same month.

Finally, in 2018, Father Adam stepped down as rector at the Cathedral following a months-long absence from the church, causing much speculation. Sources close to the Piñon Post, under fear of retaliation, allege Adam to be under investigation for sexual misconduct, which, if true, has taken years for Wester to take action on. 

If Father Adam’s repeated abuse claims are true, Archbishop Wester has a duty to laicize Ortega y Ortiz or release his personnel file, so more people don’t get harmed.

Self-Admitted Pedophilic Sexual Abuser Appears at Event With Wester

In 2005, then-Archbishop William J. Levada testified “that he did not report Father Milton Walsh to law-enforcement officials, although the priest admitted [to fondling] a [13-year-old] boy, because he was persuaded that Walsh would not offend again,” according to Catholic World News.  

The abuse by Walsh began occurring to a boy in the 1980s under former San Francisco Archbishop Quinn. 

According to Jeff Anderson & Associates, PA

[Quinn] allegedly convinced the parents not to involve police and reassured them that Fr. Milton T. Walsh would receive treatment. However, a subsequent Archbishop of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Levada, allowed Fr. Walsh to remain in ministry even after the victim’s aunt wrote a letter to the Archbishop imploring him “not to let this man fall through the cracks.” By this time, Fr. Walsh had allegedly already admitted to Archbishop Levada that he had sexually abused the young boy. In 2002, Fr. Walsh was arrested on charges of sexual abuse and removed from active ministry.

The Associated Press reported that the sexual abuse discouraged the victim, Jay ​​Seaman, from wanting to be a priest when Walsh molested him on his 13th birthday. “It really ruined me,” said Seaman, who works on a maintenance crew for the Golden Gate bridge. “I believe I’m still a Christian, but I don’t go to church to find my religion.”

Walsh says he knows Archbishop Wester from when they were at seminary together at St. John’s Seminary in Mountain View, California. Walsh was seen at a “healing Mass” for victims of clerical abuse in Taos and a subsequent celebration of a proposed new Benedictine monastery where Wester presided over the ceremonies. According to the Albuquerque Journal, the monastery would be “just across the street from a public elementary school.” 

The Journal further reported:

Back then, the church promised to keep Walsh away from children and in “academic” settings, the victim’s lawyer told the Journal this week. In recent years, lawyers who represent victims of clergy sexual abuse and track offenders have listed Walsh’s whereabouts and his access to children as “unknown.”

Now, questions have surfaced about his presence in Taos.

Although Wester denies Walsh will be living at the monastery and that Walsh currently lives in San Francisco, Walsh said he “might be traveling back and forth from San Francisco to the Taos monastery as he considered a ‘monastic’ lifestyle.”

Wester’s Pattern of Reportedly Covering Up Abuse 

The constant, well-documented pattern of reported dereliction of duty in reporting abuse, alleged silencing of whistleblowers privy to knowledge of pedophilic abuse, and the lack of action regarding sexual abuse cases in Wester’s diocese is troubling.

In Wester’s own words

It is difficult to put into words my sadness and shame over the betrayal of trust by members of the clergy who were supposed to love and protect our children and young people, and for the pain and suffering endured by victims of this abuse. I offer my sincere apology on behalf of the Archdiocese to survivors and their families and my continued commitment to support and assist you on your road to healing and recovery. Jesus said “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Lk 18:16). It is at the heart of the church’s mission, therefore, to protect, nurture and care for our children. Indeed, the church and any society can be judged on how well it cares for the vulnerable in its midst. When the church fails in this sacred responsibility, we betray the trust Christ has given us and the trust of those we have a responsibility to look out for and safeguard.

​​I firmly believe that actions speak louder than words. What is often lost or relegated to a footnote in the media’s coverage of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in New Mexico are the many steps this Archdiocese has taken over the past 25 years to prevent sexual abuse of children.

From 8-year-old girls sexually defiled to 14-year-old boys being repeatedly raped and sexually tormented by pedophilic priests, it is clear these young members of the Church deserved their cases to be heard with urgency and delicate reporting of abuse. 

If Wester lived by his statement that “It is at the heart of the church’s mission, therefore, to protect, nurture and care for our children,” the child victims, such as Sylvia Chavez, who sought his help but received no answer, would have been aided. Or Father John Conley, who bravely reported abuse and was told by Wester to “keep quiet,” would not have been vilified and hidden in retaliation.

But despite his failure to clamp down on pedophilic priests, Wester has repeatedly been promoted by his superiors, many of whom have also been implicated in covering up pedophilic sexual abuse. He appears to have created a safe haven for priests such as self-admitted pedophiles like Milton Walsh and alleged sexual assailants like Father Adam Ortega y Ortiz.

This all comes as Wester viciously rebuked lawmakers in 2016 for working to reinstate the death penalty for murderers and rapists as “blasphemous” for “​wanting to “take a human life.” But now, Wester remains supportive of pro-abortion politicians who voted to kill children in the womb up to their date of birth by refusing to withhold these legislators Holy Communion.

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. – Matthew 18:5

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