Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MDT
- CLERGY ABUSE-NEW MEXICO-THE LATEST
The Latest: US jury finds ex-priest guilty of sex abuseSANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A U.S. jury has found a former priest guilty of sexually abusing a boy nearly three decades ago at a veterans' cemetery and Air Force base in New Mexico.The jury reached the verdict Wednesday against 81-year-old Arthur Perrault, who had vanished from New Mexico in 1992.He was returned to the United States in September from Morocco to face charges of aggravated sexual abuse and abusive sexual contact.Authorities believe Perrault had multiple victims in New Mexico, but the charges against him stemmed only from the treatment of one boy at Santa Fe National Cemetery and Kirtland Air Force Base, where Perrault was a chaplain.Prosecutors say the locations fall under federal jurisdiction.Perrault maintained in court proceedings that he was innocent of the charges.__
- NEW MEXICO JUDGE-MISCONDUCT
Magistrate judge censured for misconduct against neighbor(Information from: Alamogordo Daily News, http://www.alamogordonews.com)ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico magistrate judge has been censured by the state Supreme Court for alleged acts of willful misconduct against a neighbor.The Alamogordo Daily News reported on Tuesday that Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie gave up his right to a formal hearing as part of a stipulation agreement that also involved public censure and unsealing of the case's records.Records state that between October 13, 2017, and April 20, 2018, Guthrie parked his vehicle in front of his next-door neighbor, Leticia Coyazo's home as a way of preventing the Coyazo grandchildren from playing basketball.Guthrie allegedly told Coyazo that if he heard the basketball bouncing one more time, he would impede Coyazo's husband, Ysidro Coyazo, from receiving disability benefits.Records say Ysidro is a disabled veteran who receives a monthly disability check.___
Trump administration appeals judge's ruling on asylum policySAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The federal government has appealed a San Francisco judge's ruling that blocked the Trump administration's policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico to await court hearings.The appeal Wednesday to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not immediately ask the court to halt the lower court ruling from going into effect.Judge Richard Seeborg had given the government until the end of the week to appeal his Monday ruling in which he granted a request by civil liberties groups to halt the practice while their lawsuit moves forward.Seeborg says the policy violates U.S. law by failing to adequately evaluate dangers migrants face in Mexico.President Donald Trump had criticized the ruling as unfair to the U.S. as it tries to respond to a crisis at the border.
- WIND WARNINGS-NEW MEXICO
Warnings issued for dangerously strong winds in New MexicoALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Warnings for winds that forecasters say are expected to be dangerous for travel blanketed most of New Mexico on Wednesday.The National Weather Service says the winds will make travel very difficult on north-south oriented roads such as Interstate 25, particularly for high-profile vehicles, and cause loose objects to become airborne.Forecasters also say the winds of up to 45 mph (72.42 kph) and gusts of up to 75 mph (121 kph) will combine with low humidity and an unstable atmosphere to create critical fire conditions.Albuquerque officials issued a health alert because of blowing dust and said people with respiratory conditions should limit outdoor activity.In southern New Mexico, the White Sands Missile Range was closed because of high winds, with only essential personnel told to report to work.
- ELECTION 2020-HOUSE-NEW MEXICO
Las Cruces businessman jumps in race to unseat congresswomanALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Las Cruces businessman is jumping in the race for Congress and wants to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Xochitl (SOH'-cheel) Torres Small.The Federal Election Commission website shows that Chris Mathys has filed papers to seek the Republican nomination in the 2020 election for New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District. Mathys joins former state lawmaker Yvette Herrell in vying for the GOP nomination.Torres Small defeated Herrell in 2018 by less than 3,000 votes to flip a traditional Republican-leaning district.Mathys says unlike Herrell he intends to debate Torres Small should he win the Republican nomination.The 61-year-old U.S. Army veteran says he supports President Donald Trump's call to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.Mathys ran unsuccessfully for the Public Regulation Commission last year.
- ANUS-HIDDEN DIAMONDS
Police: New Mexico man hid stolen diamond in anusALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after police say he tried to hide nearly four dozen stolen diamonds in his anus.A criminal complained filed in Albuquerque's Metropolitan Court says an officer cracked the case after seeing Eusebio Padilla remove "a baggy" from his rear end during a traffic stop on Sunday.Court documents say Officer Daniel DeGraff found 44 small diamonds in the baggy and Padilla admitted precious stones were likely stolen.DeGraff wrote he initially stopped the 23-year-old Padilla in Albuquerque for riding a motorcycle without a license plate.Padilla told DeGraff that he got the diamonds from his uncle and he was looking to trade them for drugs.Padilla was charged with tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property. It was not known if he had an attorney.
- UNM-EMPLOYEE RAISES
University considers upping tuition to fund pay raises(Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com)ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — University of New Mexico officials say they might need to increase tuition to fund a 4% pay raise for all employees.The Albuquerque Journal reports state Higher Education Secretary Kate O'Neill sent a letter to universities and colleges across the state, instructing them to give employees a 4% raise.The board of the University of New Mexico was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a budget that would have bumped up employee pay by 2%.The board postponed the vote so officials could address the letter.University president Garnett Stokes told the board that the 4% raise would cost about $16.6 million because of the higher salaries and related benefits.She says funding the raise would likely require a tuition increase.___
- BORDER FENCE CONTRACTS
Nearly $1B in contracts awarded for border fence sectionsPHOENIX (AP) — The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts totaling nearly $1 billion for removal and replacement of vehicle fencing with pedestrian fencing along two sections of the U.S.-Mexico border.The Corps of Engineers said in a statement Wednesday that 46 miles (74 kilometers) of bollard-style barrier will be installed near Columbus, New Mexico and 11 miles (18 kilometers) of bollard-type barrier will be installed in a Border Patrol sector centered on Yuma, Arizona.The statement said SLSCo. of Galveston, Texas, got a $789 million contract for the New Mexico work. Barnard Construction Co. Inc., of Bozeman, Montana, was awarded a $187 million contract for the other work.The Corps said the fencing will help "impede and deny illegal border crossings and smuggling of drugs and humans.