Deacon Allowed to Work with Children Despite Being Defrocked for Abuse

As recently as last year a former Catholic deacon defrocked after allegations of child sexual abuse had leadership roles in a Louisiana Catholic group. Even worse, he had access to children for decades despite his history. Now, church officials must take responsibility for this troubling revelation.

This is just the latest example of how Catholic leadership continues to talk a big game publicly, but privately does not do all they can to ensure accused perpetrators are kept from the vulnerable. We call on New Orleans law enforcement officials to investigate this situation to see if any crimes were committed, and we call on local parishioners to demand answers and transparency from their church officials.

This is one reason why we in SNAP clamor for lists of accused clerics – posted permanently and prominently on diocesan websites — so it will be easier for parishioners, staff, and the public to identify perpetrators who keep gravitating towards children. Had New Orleans church officials revealed such a list years and years ago – instead of in 2018 – it is likely that George Brignac never would have had the access to children that he enjoyed for years.

Now that this information has been exposed, we believe that Archbishop Greg Aymond should investigate and then disclose publicly how this was allowed to happen, and finally take action against those who put children in harm’s way. That is the only way such incomprehensible behavior will be stopped.

Church officials in the past have hand-waved away situations like this, claiming that “someone made a mistake” and that “we’ll try harder next time.” But these promises are not good enough. Apologies do nothing to keep children safe, decisive action and deserved discipline do.

We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered abuse in the Archdiocese of New Orleans will call independent sources of help – police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups like ours – to help protect others and start healing.

CONTACT: Richard Windmann, SNAP Louisiana (louisiana@snapnetwork.org, 682-710-1965), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

 


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