Survivors and Advocates Demand Response from New Orleans Saints

Survivors and Advocates Demand Response from New Orleans Saints

Team Should Release Abuse-Related Emails and “Be Direct, Open, and Transparent” Victims Say

Saints PR Team Suggested that the Archdiocese of New Orleans Use Those Same Words in  Releasing Abuser Names

NFL Should Intervene in Situation, SNAP Believes

Saints Appear to be in Danger of Losing  Their "Moral Compass”

WHAT

Holding signs at a sidewalk conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will:

  • Demand that owners of the New Orleans Saints release all emails exchanged with the Archdiocese of New Orleans,
  • Call on Saints Owner Gayle Benson to take steps to publicly support victims of Catholic abuse, not just the institution that covered up the abuse, and
  • Urge an investigation by local police and prosecutors into sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of New Orleans

WHEN     

Wednesday, January 29 at 11:00 AM

 

WHERE

At the New Orleans Saints training facility, located at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie, LA

 

WHO

Several members of SNAP including Kevin Bourgeois, a survivor from New Orleans who is a licensed social worker and the leader of the New Orleans SNAP Chapter, and Richard Windmann, another New Orleans survivor who now lives in Dallas and is the leader of the Louisiana statewide chapter.

 

WHY

SNAP is extremely alarmed by the news that the New Orleans Saints football team is refusing to release the emails between it and the Archdiocese of New Orleans. While the collusion between the two organizations is disturbing enough, in refusing to be "direct, open, and transparent " about what transpired, the Saints appears to be using National Football League assets to undermine the efforts of abuse survivors seeking justice through the courts. Now, SNAP is calling for a public apology from the Saints' ownership, as well as a pledge from them to support victims of abuse in the Catholic Church, not just the institution where the crimes occurred.

“The survivors, family members of victims, and children of Louisiana deserve a formal apology from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the New Orleans Saints football organization, and the National Football League,” said Richard Windmann, SNAP Louisiana leader. “But words aren’t enough, and we call on Gayle Benson and the Saints to take real, concrete steps towards supporting survivors of abuse.”

“Ms. Benson and her team lent their expertise to the Archdiocese, so we call on them to do the same for victims who are fighting for transparency and reform,” said Kevin Bourgeois, SNAP New Orleans Leader. “They can help us craft messages on the importance of statute of limitations reform, the need for statewide investigations and grand juries, and to implore the lay community to work with us. If the Saints are willing to help an institution that covered-up abuse, the least they can do is to assist survivors in equal measure.”

SNAP is requesting that Gayle Benson and other members of the Saints' executive leadership take the time to meet with its local leaders in Louisiana and offer a public apology, as well as to discuss opportunities to work together to prevent children from being harmed in the future. The victims' group is also asking for the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Leon A. Cannizzaro Jr., the New Orleans Police Department, and federal authorities to investigate not only the individual abusers, but also the Archdiocese itself. It seems very clear to SNAP that the New Orleans Archdiocese is willing to go to great lengths in order to massage public understanding of Catholic abuse in Louisiana.

“With the advice apparently gained from their relationship with the Saints, Catholic officials in New Orleans rolled out their list of abusive clerics, emphasizing their intention to be 'direct, open, and transparent.'  However, the Archdiocese bulked at one suggestion from the team's PR professionals, that it might benefit by saying it supported a victims' right to pursue a remedy through the courts.” said Bourgeois. “Now both the Archdiocese and the Saints are being the exact opposite 'direct, transparent, and open.' But we hold out hope that Ms. Benson and her team will meet with us and join us in doing work that will prevent abuse, not hide it.”

CONTACT: Kevin Bourgeois, SNAP New Orleans (neworleans@snapnetwork.org, 504-376-5445), Richard Windmann, SNAP Louisiana (louisiana@snapnetwork.org, 682-710-1965),  Zach Hiner, SNAP 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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