Parishioner Money to Pay Off Victims

News: US News
by Nicholas Wylie  •  •  September 12, 2023   

Laity exposed to clerical predators for decades, now have to pay the price despite victimhood

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NEW ORLEANS ( - New Orleans Catholics are expressing worries about sex abuse payouts in their archdiocese.

Abp. Gregory Aymond

Rank-and-file Catholics are concerned their tithes and donations will be used to help pay victims of clerical sex abuse after Abp. Gregory Aymond hinted in a recent letter that schools and parishes may have to help shoulder the burden of bankruptcy costs.

Clerical abuse victim attorney Desirèe Charbonnet revealed, "I've had parents ask me, 'Does this mean my tuition is going to go up? Or does this mean the part of my tuition I'm paying is going to go toward paying settlement claims?' I don't know. That wasn't made clear."

She also asserted, "What most people have a hard time dealing with is that, this is the Church, right? This is the same Church who ... has yet to say, 'We are wrong and we are guilty. We confess. We did this. We did send pedophiles from parish to parish.'"

This comes after New Orleans archbishop Gregory Aymond published a statement on Friday, announcing the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process has been "a much longer, complicated and costly process than anyone could have predicted."

Schools and parishes may have to help shoulder the burden of bankruptcy costs.

"When we filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2020, I was advised by legal counsel that the Chapter 11 proceedings would only impact our administrative offices and not the apostolates — parishes, schools and ministries — of the archdiocese of New Orleans," Aymond explained. "Unfortunately, this is no longer the case because of many external factors now facing us, including the fact that the law governing the statute of limitations has changed to now permit the filing of past abuse claims in civil court."

There were 30 abuse claims filed against the archdiocese when it decided to enter the bankruptcy process. He divulged that there are currently "over 500 proofs of claim filed with the bankruptcy court."

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The archbishop went on to detail that because of new laws in the state, apostolates in the archdiocese would need to seek a channeling injunction in order to protect their assets. "In order to accomplish that, we now know that there must be a contribution from the apostolates. We do not yet know what that total contribution will be or what will be asked of each entity."

"Millions of dollars are in the pockets of the Jones Walker law firm, and the victims and survivors, over three years have not received one red cent," Richard Windmann, a sex abuse survivor and president of Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse, told Church Militant. "It's about time that a former judge and mayoral candidate goes public and perfectly articulates the atrocity, and squarely indicts the archdiocese of New Orleans for both its actions and inactions." Fox 8 News reported that, according to Desirèe Charbonnet, the archdiocese has spent over "$30 million in professional fees related to the claims and bankruptcy case."

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"The audacity. Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans says that the local parishes and schools have to help pay for the sex abuse of priests," posted New Orleans–born actor Wendell Pierce. "It's criminal and immoral to make that suggestion. The Catholic Church now wants its followers to be complicit in their generations of crime & sin."

The archdiocese recently disclosed it will sell off some of its properties in order to help settle some of the abuse claims. The growing scandal in New Orleans has led some to demand Aymond's resignation, but the prelate insists he has no intention of leaving until he is required to submit his retirement letter at 75, next November.

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