Advocates for survivors of Catholic clergy sex abuse demonstrated outside the New Orleans Saints’ training facility in Metairie on Wednesday, as the team faces criticism over alleged church ties.
A lawsuit argues that a top communications staffer for the Saints advised the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 2018, as names were released of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse. Members of SNAP Louisiana, a survivors’ advocacy group, want emails between the Saints front office and the archdiocese made public.
“It’s inappropriate for a football team to involve itself in a sex abuse scandal,” SNAP Louisiana member Kevin Bourgeois said Wednesday. “If they don’t have anything to hide, then they should just release all the emails to the attorneys who are filing the suit for this victim.”
Nearly 300 emails between members of the Saints PR staff and the communications department of the Archdiocese have become a factor in a lawsuit filed by about two dozen men claiming abuse at the hands of clergy, according to the AP.
That lawsuit, Doe v. Archdiocese, is currently in the discovery stage.
While the Archdiocese declined to comment on the issue, the Saints released a statement confirming that Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, did in fact assist the Archdiocese with messaging before the Archdiocese released a list of clergy who had been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of children.
“Never did the Saints organization offer advice to conceal information, in fact, we advised that as new information relative to credible evidence about other clergy came to light, then those names should be released and given to proper authorities,” the Saints organization said in a statement Wednesday.
The NFL has yet to issue a statement on the team’s connection to the archdiocese and the clergy sex scandal.
Information from WGNO was used in this report.