SNAP Statement on Federal Lawsuit against Bishop Deshotels, Archbishop Aymond, and the Vatican

SNAP New Orleans supports the five John Doe plaintiffs who allege that they were abused by Monsignor Kenneth R. Morvant between 1972 and 1982 while he worked as a priest in the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette. The cleric died in 2003. These survivors are suing the current bishop of Lafayette, J. Douglas Deshotels, Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, and the Vatican for neglecting to protect boys in the Diocese from the monsignor. 

The lawsuit alleges that now-deceased Archbishop Phillip Hannan and his successors in the Archdiocese of New Orleans were aware of Morvant’s crimes, but did not remove him from ministry. 

The plaintiffs further contend that the hierarchy in Lafayette, New Orleans, and the Vatican did nothing to warn the public of Monsignor Morvant’s criminal behavior. 

This lawsuit also seeks to expose the cover-up of sex crimes by clerics against the children of the Diocese of Lafayette. Attorneys representing the Diocese of Lafayette filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In this motion, they demand the plaintiffs reveal their true identities. SNAP supports these brave plaintiffs and urges the court to maintain the privacy of each individual. 

Finally, this lawsuit hopes to show a civil conspiracy between the Bishops from the Lafayette Diocese, the Archbishops of New Orleans, and Rome to hide the sex crimes of Monsignor Morvant. 

The monsignor was not named among the 37 “credibly accused” clergy listed by the Diocese of Lafayette on April 12, 2019. However, Monsignor Morvant is named as a publicly accused priest in the Lafayette Diocese by BishopAccountability, an independent database chronicling the Catholic abuse scandal in the United States. Eleven men came forward in 2018 to accuse the priest of abuse in a lawsuit filed in state court. 

CONTACT: Kevin Bourgeois, SNAP New Orleans (neworleans@snapnetwork.org, 504-376-5445), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in insti- tutional 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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