Santa Fe priest removed from post amid misconduct investigation

Aug. 2—A Roman Catholic priest who heads a large parish on the city's south side has been removed from his post amid an investigation into an allegation of misconduct, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe confirmed Monday.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Leslie Radigan confirmed the Rev. Daniel Balizan of Santa María de la Paz Catholic Community was the subject of "an allegation that is not substantiated, but not beyond the realm of the possible" in an email Monday.

Radigan did not outline the nature of the alleged misconduct.

"According to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe policies, the accused person is removed until, in cooperation with authorities, the allegation can be substantiated," Radigan wrote.

Balizan, listed as the church's pastor on its website, has served at Santa María de la Paz since 2012. Before that, he served at St. Patrick's-St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Raton.

A woman who answered the telephone at Santa María referred a reporter to the Rev. Glennon Jones, the vicar general for the archdiocese. Jones could not be reached for comment.

Santa Fe police Deputy Chief Ben Valdez said he was unaware of an investigation into Balizan. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office did not respond to requests for comment.

The archdiocese is raising money to pay a $121.5 million settlement with about 375 people who claimed they were sexually abused by priests. The archdiocese is asking its parishes to contribute $12 million, in addition to selling parcels of land it owns. A mortgage also has been placed on the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, its best-known church.

The settlement still must be finalized and is part of a yearslong bankruptcy process the archdiocese began in 2018 in response to claims from people who said they suffered abuse.