Archbishop Aymond moves to boot priest suspected of child abuse out St. Dominic living quarters

Catholic Church officials asked the Dominican order Thursday to move an elderly priest out of his living quarters at St. Dominic’s Priory in Lakeview, a day after a victim-advocacy group exposed his presence on a list of Dominican religious order members who have been credibly accused of child molestation.

The news about Richard Raphael Archer, 89, a retired priest, was contained in a letter that New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond sent to the parents of children at St. Dominic School on Memphis Street. The school serves students in pre-K through 7th grade and is attached to a church and priory on Harrison Avenue.

Archer in December was among those listed in a 24-name roster of Dominican order members in the eastern and southern United States who were suspected child sex abusers, both living and dead. A board reviewing personnel files deemed “an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor” against Archer as credible. He was removed from public ministry in 2002, when he was assigned to a Metairie-based Dominican province, his order said.

Nonetheless, Archer was still listed as “in residence” at the St. Dominic Priory as of Wednesday, when the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests published a statement highlighting that fact. SNAP’s statement also noted that, despite Archer's past, the Archdiocese of New Orleans marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination in a 2017 news release recognizing veteran priests.

Archer's name was not among the 57 names on a list of credibly accused clergy in New Orleans that Aymond released on Nov. 2. The list was comprised of diocesan and religious order priests whom the archdiocese had removed from ministry, or would have removed had they been living. However, Aymond cautioned that the release did not include clergy and religious personnel who had been defrocked by their orders.

Aymond wrote to parents of St. Dominic on Thursday that he hadn’t learned of Archer’s status until that morning, but then acted immediately.

“I have been in touch with … Dominican (leadership) and advised … that Archer may no longe...

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  • Joe Charles
    commented 2019-03-29 15:41:25 -0500
    It is also important to mention that many US dioceses conduct annual “Retirement Fund For Our Religious” fundraising drives. The purpose of these drives is to assist in providing living expenses and care for retired priests, brothers etc.. There is a suspicion that in some dioceses these funds also support clergy- abusers who have been stripped of their faculties and placed on a “prayer and penance” status. Before contributing to a diocesan “Retirement Fund For Our Religious” scrutiny as to where these funds are going and who they are actually helping is recommended.

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