Former Santa Fe priest arrested in child sex abuse case

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former Santa Fe priest is facing federal charges. 61-year-old Daniel Balizan is accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Balizan is a former priest at Santa Maria de la Paz Catholic Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico and St. Patrick’s-St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Raton, New Mexico. He allegedly used text messages to coerce and entice a minor, identified as John Doe in court documents, to engage in sexual activity with him.

“Abusing children under the veil of religious authority is an attack on the faith itself,” said U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez. “I am humbled by the bravery of John Doe. With our partners, we will vigorously pursue justice for him and all of our children.”

“We have and will continue to do everything we possibly can to protect our children from predators who seek to do them harm by abusing their inherent positions of trust,” said Raul Bujanda, FBI Special Agent in Charge.

If convicted, Balizan faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jaymie L. Roybal is prosecuting the case.

Balizan is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Justice Department to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  

Balizan is on a no-bond hold at the Santa Fe County jail. A federal judge ruled Monday, July 3, to release him to family in Colfax County on electronic monitoring.

Below is a timeline of Balizan’s assignments from 1989 to 2022:

Anyone with information about Balizan can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip online at