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Retired New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, and Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri lie and face the altar of St. Joseph's Catholic Church to pray for forgiveness during a special mass in New Orleans in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. The intention of the mass is 'The Church asking for forgiveness and for the healing of victims,' referring to victims of sexual and physical abuse by Roman Catholic priests and clergy.

There may be names on the list that sicken New Orleans-area Catholics, exposing once-revered men of the cloth as child predators based on allegations that never saw daylight.

The sordid histories of about 16 other clerics should be familiar to many, though, having been revealed in previous eruptions of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal by the diocese itself — or in spite of its silence.


THE ACCUSED 

See 16 names, bios of New Orleans clergy linked to sex abuse scandal as full list nears daylight

DO YOU HAVE A STORY OF SEXUAL ABUSE YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH THE ADVOCATE? Click here for information on how to safely share that information. 


Together, their names are expected to be released within days by the Archdiocese of New Orleans in a highly anticipated and grimly historic document: The first official roster of local clerics who have sexually abused children.

The list will go back at least a half-century and include priests and deacons who have faced "allegations of sexual abuse of a minor and those allegations have led to a removal from ministry," Archbishop Gregory Aymond said recently in a statement.

The outline of Aymond's framework calls for outing child predators who worked in the diocesan priesthood, as well as religious-order clergy who make up a large share of priests and deacons under the umbrella of the archdiocese. 

On paper, that is more than many dioceses in the U.S. have been willing to release — and less than some others. 

Aymond's decision to release a list comes amid a scramble by bishops nationwide to respond to a new wave of public outrage engulfing the church globally. At least four of Louisiana's six other dioceses are expected to follow suit and put out their own lists, adding to a rising stack of similar reveals across the U.S. as the church tries yet again to seek forgiveness for the decades of clergy abuse it allowed.

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Archbishop Gregory Michael Aymond begins Communion during the Inauguration Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, Monday, May 7, 2018.

In New Orleans, some Catholic parishioners have been further rattled by reports that Aymond sat on at least one recently settled abuse allegation before it was unearthed by the media.

For a diocese that had no formal review process for child sex abuse complaints until 1993, the list is likely to fall well short of a full accounting of child sex abusers in the New Orleans clergy.

Even so, its publication will mark the most aggressive and perhaps riskiest in a series of steps taken by the archdiocese to publicly reckon with the persistent crisis. With its list, the archdiocese is furnishing a slate of evidence that the neighborhood parishes of New Orleans were far from immune to the widespread rape and molestation of children documented throughout the Catholic Church.

Some 16 priests and deacons who were the subjects of previous public reports seem to fall clearly under the guidelines laid out by Aymond and thus are likely to appear on the list, according to an Advocate review of Louisiana allegations listed by the watchdog site bishop-accountability.org.

Among them are clerics who said mass at Sacred Heart of Jesus in New Orleans, took confession at St. Mary Magdalen in Metairie, officiated nuptials for young couples at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Reserve, and preyed on vulnerable children across the region.

Should the archdiocese choose to list priests who were accused and removed from ministry elsewhere, but who also served in New Orleans-area parishes, at least 15 more names are likely to appear.

Until now, the archdiocese has released only a numeric tally of diocesan priests and deacons who were credibly accused — but not their names. That official figure stood at 10 clerics when then-Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes issued a report in late 2003 that claimed to account for all allegations dating back to 1950.

Hughes left it for others to piece together their identities. At the time, he claimed "there have been no allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by a cleric since the late 1980s," a span of well over a decade.

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Retired New Orleans Archbishop Alfred Hughes, foreground left, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, and Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri lie and face the altar of St. Joseph's Catholic Church to pray for forgiveness during a special mass in New Orleans in New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018. The intention of the mass is 'The Church asking for forgiveness and for the healing of victims,' referring to victims of sexual and physical abuse by Roman Catholic priests and clergy.

The list the archdiocese is preparing to release may shed light on the accuracy of Hughes' math.  

In all, more than 60 of nearly 200 dioceses in the U.S. have released lists of clergy abusers to date, some of them under the terms of legal settlements with victims. Many other bishops are considering doing so in the wake of a July report from a Pennsylvania grand jury that exposed a raft of previously unreported allegations involving hundreds of "predator priests" in four dioceses.

The grand jury report has helped to fuel a new eruption in a clergy abuse scandal that has placed Pope Francis on the hot seat and threatened to send outraged parishioners fleeing the pews.

"The bishops' own position on this is shifting, but also, the community standard is shifting. Suddenly a lot of people are wondering, 'Why don’t you have a list? What possible reason could you have for not having a list?' " said Terry McKiernan, founder of bishop-accountability.org.

"We're seeing a real rush to get lists out there. Whether they’re good lists or not is another question. You hope the diocese does a complete job. You hope they just level with the people. If they don’t do that, it’s just going to continue coming back to haunt them. It is, of course, already haunting the survivors."

It’s a scandal that first broke out in Louisiana, from revelations during the 1980s that a pedophile priest in Lafayette, Gilbert Gauthe, had molested scores of children while church leaders shuttled him from one Acadiana church to the next.

Decades later, the Louisiana bishops find themselves at a turning point, under immense pressure to come clean following decades of half-measures taken by their predecessors to protect children and own up to the totality of the scandal.

The New Orleans list will confront parishioners anew with the sexual crimes committed in their midst. More victims are likely to come forward, and with them, demands to be compensated for years of therapy, broken relationships, substance abuse and other symptoms of the trauma of sexual abuse suffered as children.

The stakes are high. Lawsuits and settlements have pushed many U.S. dioceses into bankruptcy. Of about 200 dioceses around the country, roughly 1 in 12 has declared bankruptcy or has announced it will do so as a result of the crisis.

But the risks are not purely financial. While the new disclosures are meant to rebuild trust, a fresh round of horrors could also have the opposite effect.

Changing protocols and reviews

Aymond has said the review by the archdiocese covers 50 years, spanning the tenures of four New Orleans archbishops who each operated under different rules for reviewing and disclosing allegations of clergy sex abuse — or no rules at all.

300 Archbishop Philip Hannan

Archbishop Philip Hannan

Over the first half of those 50 years, then-Archbishop Philip Hannan had no formal administrative process for handling complaints against clergy. How many allegations from that period were handled off the books, with Hannan acting as his own counsel, may never be known.

Most of the allegations that have come to light so far against New Orleans-area clergy date to Hannan's tenure, which ended with his retirement in 1988.

Five years later, in 1993, Archbishop Francis Schulte set up a process for handling complaints of child sexual abuse by clergy. Yet a spokesman for the archdiocese would later reveal that Schulte's review policies were so restrictive — applying only to allegations made by children or their parents — that none ever qualified.

Alfred Hughes would become New Orleans archbishop in 2002, as the church was in the throes of the clergy sex abuse scandal that erupted when The Boston Globe exposed myriad abuse allegations and cover-ups. That year, the U.S. Conference of Bishops agreed on a new protocol for reporting and disclosing credible allegations of clergy sex abuse.

Hughes would suspend or remove several priests from ministry under the new protocol, mostly based on allegations they abused children in earlier decades.

Among them were Joseph Pellettieri, a Redemptorist priest accused of sexually abusing a child 35 years earlier; Charles Coyle, a Jesuit priest accused of clergy sex abuse in Massachusetts; and Rev. Gerard P. Kinane, whom Hughes relieved of his duties at St. Luke in Slidell based on a complaint alleging abuse in the mid-1970s.

All three of those names will presumably make Aymond's list.

But Hughes also weathered criticism over lapses in disclosure. He quietly removed the Rev. Carl Davidson from ministry sometime in 2002, for instance, and never revealed it.

Davidson, once a music teacher at St. John Vianney Prep School, was accused of trying to molest a boy years earlier. Hughes removed him from the ministry after the victim and a second person complained. Only in 2004 did the sequence of events become public, in apparent violation of the guidelines set up in the wake of the Boston scandal, The Times-Picayune reported.

Such spotty disclosures point to blind spots in the archdiocese's shifting view of transparency when it comes to clergy sex abuse.

Indeed, a whole category of credibly accused priests — those who died before the 2002 reforms — has largely been exempted from disclosure under archdiocese policy, their names kept under wraps for years or even decades. 

Aymond has pledged to lift that veil for clerics who were accused and removed from ministry before their deaths, though not if the allegations came posthumously.

That means any surprise names that might appear on the list will likely be those of deceased clergy.

Other names that figure to make the list won't be surprises, their sins having already been aired in grimy detail. They include:

-- Dino Cinel, who left the priesthood after his stash of child porn and home sex movies with teens turned up in the St. Rita church rectory. Cinel was acquitted at trial after his attorney argued the priest had acquired the material before it was outlawed. A young man with whom Cinel had a sexual relationship fatally stabbed him in Colombia earlier this year. 

-- Patrick Keane, a priest who admitted in a sworn deposition that he molested a teenager in the rectory of St. Mary Magdalen in the early 1980s. Keane was removed from the ministry and left the priesthood when he was accused in 1994. A civil lawsuit centering on the accusation was settled in 2003. 

-- George Brignac, a deacon who was removed from ministry in 1988 after multiple arrests and accusations of child abuse, for which he was never convicted. This year, the archdiocese paid more than $500,000 to an accuser who said he was raped by Brignac between 1979 and 1982, while the deacon led the altar boy program at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.

Aymond publicly revealed the allegations only after The Advocate reported on them, about six weeks after the settlement. Aymond said he had been about to inform the congregation about Brignac, though the Archdiocese has refrained from similar disclosures in the past when new allegations were received about a cleric like Brignac who had already been removed from ministry. 

Because the New Orleans list is limited to clergy, it is likely to leave out some of the most notorious child sex abusers in the recent history of the New Orleans archdiocese — figures such as Robert Gandara and Peter Modica. 

Gandara, a member of the Christian Brothers, was accused in a lawsuit in 1989 of engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old boy who was boarding at St. Paul School in Covington. Authorities also pursued charges, and Gandara spent nine months behind bars. He left the order in 1994. 

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Richard Windmann at his home in the area of Dallas, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2018.

Modica, a maintenance man at Jesuit High School in the 1970s, was accused of raping an adolescent boy, Richard Windmann, on campus repeatedly. In 2012, when Windmann confronted Jesuit, the school's president at the time described his account as credible, and Windmann was paid $450,000 to settle the claims out of court. 

Any clergy member accused of sexually abusing a minor could seek to clear his name through a highly secretive church tribunal, the decisions of which are hardly ever revealed.

Regardless of who's on it the list and who's not, its pending release has filled local parishes with anticipation, and in some cases dread.

Debbie Fagnano, a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Belle Chasse, said members have exchanged concerns that Patrick B. Sanders will be named.

Sanders was widely respected among parishioners before he was sidelined by Hughes in 2004 over allegations that he abused two teenage boys. He denied those allegations, which never resulted in criminal charges. Church members mounted a massive letter-writing campaign and hung blue ribbons around trees to show their support for Sanders.

Sanders remains a priest without a flock, rebuilding his life as an attorney in private practice, according to Fagnano.

Fagnano is one of his clients. She said she fully supports Aymond, but she still worries about the consequences for people like Sanders.

“He doesn’t know what direction this is going to go in, what’s going to happen when the names are released,” Fagnano said. “We understand that this list has to come out, but I’m just hoping and praying that some way, those who shouldn’t have to bear this burden won’t.”


The Accused: 16 clergy who could be on Aymond's list

Below are 16 priests and deacons who either admitted to the sex abuse allegations made against them, left the ministry on their own after being accused, or were removed from ministry. Based on information from media reports, other documents, and the website bishop-accountability.org, each appears to meet the criteria outlined by Aymond for inclusion on the list, though it's possible that some may be excluded.

CLAUDE P. BOUDREAUX

Position: Jesuit priest, teacher at Jesuit High School

Served: Jesuit High School (1967-1973, 1976-2005)

Age: Died in 2016 at age 91

Status: Removed from ministry in 2005

Details: Ordained in 1955, Boudreaux was removed from ministry in 2005 after the Jesuit order received what it deemed to be a credible report of the sexual abuse of a minor from more than three decades before, according to The Times- Picayune. The Jesuits released few other details, citing the victim’s right to privacy. Boudreaux, a native of Houma, was sent to live in an undisclosed location for medical treatment. Afterwards, Boudreaux lived at the Ignatius Residence in New Orleans, according to his obituary. When that home closed in 2013, he relocated to the St. Camillus Jesuit Community in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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GEORGE BRIGNAC

Position: Archdiocesan deacon, teacher

Served: Our Lady of the Rosary Parish (1976-88); lector at St. Mary Magdalen Parish (2016-2018); and, before 1976, St. Matthew the Apostle School, St. John Vianney Prep School and Cabrini High School

Age: 83

Status: Removed from ministry in 1988

Details: Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he was “utterly surprised and embarrassed” in July 2018 when he found out that Brignac, who was removed from ministry in 1988, was serving as a lay lector at a Metairie church. More than 10 boys have accused Brignac of molesting them, with the claims spanning many years and multiple parishes and schools across New Orleans. In 2018, the archdiocese paid more than $500,000 to an accuser who said he was raped by Brignac between about 1979 and 1982, when the deacon was the co-director of the altar boy program at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish. A pair of plaintiffs have since filed similar lawsuits, and others have claims which are in process. Brignac declined comment when contacted recently. He previously told The Advocate he was “attracted to children” and admitted to touching young boys, though he said it wasn’t for “immoral” purposes.

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PAUL CALAMARI

Position: Archdiocesan priest

Served: St. Raphael the Archangel, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishes (1980-1997), Archdiocese of New Orleans

Age: 74

Status: Removed from ministry in 2003

Details: Calamari was accused of sexually abusing a minor before his ordination to the priesthood in 1980, according to The Times-Picayune. In addition to his service as a priest, he also spent time as the director of religious instruction for the archdiocese, the newspaper reported. He left the New Orleans area in 1997 for St. John Vianney Center in Pennsylvania, a psychiatric treatment facility for priests. Calamari had relocated to the Wilmington diocese in Delaware when he was removed from ministry in 2003. Church officials said they had received credible allegations against him. Public records suggest Calamari still lived in Delaware as of 2017. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

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DINO CINEL

Position: Archdiocesan priest, Tulane University historian

Served: St. Rita Catholic Church (1979-1988)

Age: Died in 2018 at 76

Status: Laicized in 2010

Details: A native of Italy, Cinel was living in the St. Rita rectory in 1988 when another priest discovered a cache of child pornography and videotapes of Cinel having sex with young men, according to media reports. When the discovery was made public two years later, it sparked a protracted legal battle and allegations that then-District Attorney Harry Connick Sr., a St. Rita parishioner, hobbled his office’s efforts to prosecute the case. Connick denies improperly handling the matter. Cinel left the priesthood after the scandal broke, although he was not formally laicized until 2010. Cinel’s life came to a violent end in Colombia in February 2018, when he was stabbed to death by an 18-year-old man who was also his lover.

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CHARLES G. "CHARLEY" COYLE

Position: Jesuit priest

Served: Jesuit High School (1960s), Holy Cross High School (1980s), St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Church in Algiers, Center for Jesus the Lord (1980s), Tulane University

Age: Died in 2015 at age 83

Status: Removed from ministry in 2002

Details: Ordained in 1965, Coyle was removed from ministry after being accused in a 2002 lawsuit of abusing two boys in the 1970s at Newton South High School outside Boston. At the time the allegations were made, Coyle worked and lived in New Orleans but was not attached to a parish. Coyle neither confirmed nor denied those claims, The Times-Picayune reported. Coyle worked at Jesuit in the 1960s. He also worked at St. Andrew the Apostle church as well as at a spirituality center known as the Center for Jesus the Lord in the 1980s. Later, he lived at St. Cecilia Parish, serving as a chaplain at Holy Cross High School and Tulane University. He eventually served as a substitute for vacationing priests. He became the first known case in which a New Orleans priest was suspended following the abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002. A second lawsuit filed in 2003 accused Coyle of sexually abusing a boy while Coyle was a seminarian in Baltimore, according to The Times-Picayune.

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CARL DAVIDSON

Position: Archdiocesan priest

Served: St. John Vianney Prep School (dates unclear), musician and accompanist for St. Louis Cathedral boys choir

Age: Died in 2007 at age 67

Status: Retired in 2002

Details: Davidson was a music teacher at St. John Vianney Prep School in New Orleans. According to 2004 articles in the Times-Picayune, a man claimed Davidson tried to molest him years earlier when the victim was a boy. The accuser said he and a second victim went to the archdiocese in 2002 and complained, resulting in Davidson’s removal and retirement from ministry. But, according to The Times-Picayune, that action wasn’t publicly discussed until 2004, an apparent violation of guidelines to disclose such matters following the Boston scandal two years earlier.

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MICHAEL FRASER

Position: Archdiocesan priest

Served: Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River; St. Raphael the Archangel; Visitation of Our Lady in Marrero

Age: 69

Status: Removed from ministry in 2004

Details: Ordained in 1975, Fraser was accused of abusing boys in the mid-1980s and in 1991 while at Sts. Peter and Paul, The Times-Picayune reported. Fraser was removed in 2004, after the archdiocese received the complaint with the accusations against Fraser from the mid-1980s. Fraser was the pastor at Visitation of Our Lady at the time. After his removal, a separate lawsuit which was settled accused him of abusing a boy at St. Raphael about 1983. He was among a group of priests removed from ministry following sexual abuse allegations who later sued Archbishop Alfred Hughes for defamation. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

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PATRICK KEANE

Position: Archdiocesan priest

Age: 70

Served: St. Catherine of Siena, St. Mary Magdalen, both in Metairie

Status: Removed from ministry in 1994

Details: A man who identified himself publicly as Patrick Collins told church officials in 1994 that as a teenager he’d been molested by Keane in the rectory of St. Mary Magdalen in the early 1980s, according to The Times-Picayune. Keane had been ordained in 1973 and was an associate at St. Catherine of Siena at the time of the allegation. He was removed from ministry, left the priesthood, and admitted the abuse under oath in a 1999 deposition, according to a Times-Picayune story. A civil lawsuit involving the allegations was settled in 2003, records show. Attempts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.

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JAMES KILGOUR

Position: Archdiocesan Priest

Age: 72

Served: Our Lady of the Lake in Mandeville, St. Pius X

Status: Removed from ministry in 1994

Details: Ordained in 1973, Kilgour was accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old altar boy in 1980 and 1981 at Our Lady of the Lake, according to The Times-Picayune. Three others were also accused of roles in the case. Kilgour was placed on leave in 1987, when a civil suit in the case was filed. He was working at St. Pius X at the time. He recently told The Advocate he did not return to the ministry. The suit was settled in April 1991, but Kilgour said he did not assume any responsibility for wrongdoing.

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GERARD P. KINANE

Position: Archdiocesan Priest

Served: St. Mark Catholic Church in Chalmette (1973-1978); St. Hilary Catholic Church in Houma (1981-1985); St. Luke Catholic Church in Slidell (1999-2004)

Age: 73

Status: Removed from ministry in 2004

Details: A man came forward in 2004 to allege that Kinane sexually abused him in two incidents in 1973 and 1975 when he was a teenager and Kinane was an associate pastor at St. Mark, according to The Times-Picayune. One incident allegedly occurred in the church and another on a trip to the Honey Island Swamp near Slidell. Kinane was soon removed from ministry, but he continued to insist on his innocence in a defamation lawsuit against the archdiocese. The suit was dismissed in 2010. Kinane couldn’t be reached for comment.

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BERNARD KNOTH

Position: Jesuit Priest

Served: Loyola University New Orleans (president)

Age: 69

Status: Resigned in 2003

Details: Ordained in 1977, Knoth resigned as president of Loyola in 2003 after being accused of sexually abusing a student at Brebeuf Jesuit Prep in Indianapolis in 1986, according to The Times-Picayune. He denied wrongdoing, but the order deemed the allegation credible, and he was removed from ministry. He later entered private business in Florida. The Archdiocese of Indianapolis included him on a publicly released list of clergy who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. Knoth recently told The Advocate, “I still stand with what I said when I resigned from Loyola. (The allegation) was untrue.”

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WESLEY MICHAEL LANDRY

Position: Archdiocesan priest, monsignor

Served: Incarnate Word Church in New Orleans; St. Leo the Great Parish in New Orleans

Age: Died in 2002 at 78

Status: Retired in 1993

Details: Landry was ordained in 1948 and rose to assume the prestigious title of Monsignor. An accuser said Landry seduced him while he was an altar boy at Incarnate Word and continued a sexual relationship with him for 45 years, trading him money for sex, according to The Times-Picayune. Landry admitted to the relationship in 1993 and retired. The archdiocese paid the accuser $7,000 that year for a release from liability, the Times-Picayune reported.

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RICHARD NOWERY

Position: Holy Cross priest

Served: Pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in New Orleans

Age: Died in April 2018 at age 80

Status: Removed from ministry in 2002

Details: Ordained in 1968, Nowery was accused in 1986 of sexually abusing two boys in Austin, Texas, according to The Times-Picayune. He underwent treatment and came back to church where he recruited clergy but was restricted from unsupervised access to children. After the 2002 church abuse scandal in Boston, the archdiocese reviewed Nowery's personnel file and removed him from ministry. He was the pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Mid-City. His case demonstrates how church policy changed after the scandal erupted in 2002.

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JOSEPH PELLETTIERI

Position: Redemptorist priest

Served: Notre Dame High School in Crowley, Ave Maria Retreat House in Crown Point

Age: 79

Status: Removed from ministry in 2002

Details: According to The Times-Picayune, an unidentified man contacted church officials in April 2002 and reported being sexually abused by Pellettieri, who was ordained in 1965, when the victim was a minor in 1967. At the time in question, Pellettieri was a teacher and principal at Notre Dame High School, and the boy was described as the son of a janitor. After the allegation, Archbishop Alfred Hughes suspended Pellettieri, who was running the Ave Maria Retreat House in Crown Point. Pellettieri had also worked in Wisconsin, Alexandria and Baton Rouge. It is not clear if the Redemptorist order acted similarly. A lawsuit against Pellettieri was later dismissed on grounds of statute of limitations. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

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PATRICK B. SANDERS

Position: Archdiocesan priest

Served: Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belle Chasse

Age: 55

Status: Removed from ministry in 2004

Details: Ordained in 1990, Sanders was sidelined from serving as a pastor in 2004 after two men came forward to report they were sexually abused as teenagers 11 years before, according to The Times-Picayune. In 2005, Archbishop Alfred Hughes announced that he had permanently removed Sanders from the priesthood after three hearing officers said they believed Sanders committed the abuse. At the time, he was the pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and well-liked by his congregation. Public records suggest Sanders has since become an attorney. He declined to comment but has previously denied wrongdoing.

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JOHN SAX

Position: Archdiocesan priest

Served: St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Reserve, St. John Vianney Villa (a Marrero retirement home for priests)

Age: 70

Status: Removed from ministry in 2000

Details: Ordained in 1973, Sax admitted he molested an altar boy repeatedly between 1980 and 1985 at St. Peter’s, according to The Times-Picayune. The victim approached another priest in 2000, disclosed the abuse and was put in touch with a therapist. The victim sued. Sax was placed on leave when the allegations were first reported. He remained a priest in 2004 but had no priestly duties and was reportedly living in an undisclosed location, according to The Times-Picayune. Sax had helped the archdiocese draft a sex-abuse policy some seven years before his accuser came forward, the Times-Picayune reported. Sax, who held the prestigious title of monsignor, didn’t return a message seeking comment.


Staff writers Matt Sledge and Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report. 


Follow John Simerman on Twitter, @johnsimerman.