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Las Cruces priest on administrative leave after sexual misconduct allegations

A Las Cruces priest was put on administrative leave following multiple accusations of sexual misconduct with adults, the Diocese of Las Cruces announced Monday morning.

The allegations are against the Rev. Rogelio Martinez, pastor of St. Genevieve Parish. Officials said the case has been reported to District Attorney Mark D’Antonio.

The diocese’s Sexual Abuse Review Board is also conducting an internal investigation. The board is comprised of private citizens with expertise in law, law enforcement, psychology and one priest.

“It surprised me. It really did,” said Ana Reyes, a Las Cruces catholic who visited St. Genevieve Parish on Monday. “It surprised me. It hit me, because I did not know.”

Reyes did not know the priest personally, but said she will continue to rely on faith and prayer.

“I believe in my religion, but we’re all human beings,” Reyes said. “I believe that they shouldn’t be doing harm to other people, but my religion is still my faith.”

Martinez may face sanctions if the accusations are determined to be credible, according to the diocese.

“Sadly, our diocese has allegations against a priest that are serious in nature, and we must proceed with a review that is comprehensive and provides a just conclusion,” Bishop Oscar Cantú said in a news release. “Certainly, Father Rogelio must be presumed to be innocent and will be given ample opportunity to clear his name.”

Cantú said he is committed to cooperating with the diocese’s review board and law enforcement in investigating all allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct.

“Just keep on praying,” said Gil Bernal, another Las Cruces catholic who happened to be visiting the parish on Monday. When asked about allegations in churches in across the country, he said, “They’re working on it. According to the pope in the news, they’re working on it.”

The Diocese of Las Cruces encourages those who have been the victim of sexual abuse by clergy or church personnel to contact public authorities or Margarita Williams-the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator for the diocese-at 575-523-7577 or

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