Priest in Louisiana formally charged with molestation of teen

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FILE – In this April 8, 2010 file photo a cross sits on top of a church in Berlin, Germany. A highly anticipated report commissioned by the Cologne archdiocese on church officials’ handling of past cases of sexual abuse by clergy is set to be released. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

SLIDELL, La. (WDSU) — A Northshore district attorney has formally charged a former Slidell priest accused of sexually abusing a teenager.

Patrick Wattigny, 63, was arrested in October by authorities in Georgia and extradited to St. Tammany Parish. District Attorney Warren Montgomery on Friday announced an indictment against Wattingy for molestation of a juvenile. Wattigny is accused of abusing a then-15-year-old from June 2013 through August 2014.

Image courtesy of WGNO

Wattigny is the former pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church and chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School.

According to St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, Wattigny started talking to the teen through general conversation, which led to telephone and text message conversations and eventually in-person visits, at which time the molestation occurred on at least four different occasions.

Some of the instances happened in the church rectory, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced the accusations against Wattingy in October.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond said last year that Wattigny had previously been accused of sending non-sexual texts to a minor and was instructed to stop. When Wattingy didn’t, he was removed as chaplain.

The archdiocese did not report Wattingy’s transgressions at the time because the texts were not sexual in nature, Aymond said.

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