Former New Orleans deacon George Brignac jailed; first arrest since release of list of accused clergy

A Catholic Church deacon who was removed from ministry in 1988 following multiple child molestation accusations was jailed on a count of first-degree rape early Saturday, the first arrest of a clergyman in New Orleans on a sex-abuse charge since the church’s decades-old crisis reignited a little more than a year ago.

Complete details about what is just the latest criminal case against George Feldner Brignac, 84, weren’t immediately available. But records from the New Orleans Police Department and the city’s lockup show Brignac was booked in connection with a complaint made Aug. 28, 2018.

The address provided for that complaint is in the 3300 block of Esplanade Avenue, where Brignac worked as co-director of the altar boy program at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in the 1970s and 1980s.

A New Orleans Police Department spokesman on Saturday said the ensuing investigation centered on "alleged sexual abuse spanning several years." Police obtained a warrant to book Brignac on Friday — he was arrested in Metairie, where he lives, and transferred to New Orleans' jail by about 3 a.m. Saturday, according to the NOPD and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. 

Brignac would face mandatory life imprisonment if convicted of first-degree rape, which has no statute of limitations — meaning prosecutors can try the case no matter how long ago the alleged crime occurred.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars out to people claiming to have been abused by Brignac, who until last year had been allowed to read as a lector at a church in Metairie.

Despite having been the subject of multiple police inquiries over the years, Brignac has never been convicted of a sex crime. Police last summer said they were reinvestigating him in connection with new abuse allegations after The New Orleans Advocate reported that the church ha...

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