Judge’s Recusal in New Orleans is an Example Church Officials Should Follow

A federal judge in Louisiana has recused herself from a case involving sex abuse and the local Archdiocese due to her previous ties to the institution. This is the correct move and we praise the judge for her integrity. Now it is time for Catholic officials to display similar values.

The recusal of federal judge Wendy Vitter draws attention to just how well connected the Archdiocese of New Orleans is to state and federal law enforcement. We hope that others who have similar connections to the archdiocese will follow Judge Vitter’s lead and recuse themselves as well.

More importantly, we believe that Catholic officials should take inspiration from Judge Vitter’s integrity and also be transparent and open with the public. Because survivors of sexual abuse are at the center of this preemptive bankruptcy filing by the Archdiocese, we believe it should provide a transparent history of abuse and its efforts to cover up and minimize those crimes. That transparency should include emails from the New Orleans Saints, other donors, and actions by Judge Vitter and her former law firm when she represented the archdiocese.

When facts about clergy abuse and cover-ups are made public, children are better protected and survivors can be encouraged to come forward. We call on Catholic officials in New Orleans to be as transparent as Judge Vitter and come clean about their history with clergy abuse.

CONTACT: Kevin Bourgeois, SNAP New Orleans (neworleans@snapnetwork.org, 504-376-5445), Richard Windmann, SNAP Louisiana (louisiana@snapnetwork.org), 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 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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