NEW ORLEANS, LA (AP) – A survivor of clergy abuse expressed his anger that the New Orleans Saints football team is going to court to stop the public release of emails which allegedly show it helped the city’s Catholic archdiocese contain the fallout from a sexual abuse crisis.
Kevin Bourgeois, who is a Saints season ticket holder, told The Associated Press on Friday it was “absolutely infuriating” the team had been implicated.
The New Orleans resident was reacting to news the Saints organization is going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails.
The documents allegedly show team officials acting as a de facto public relations arm for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the damage from the burgeoning abuse crisis.
Bourgeois says he was abused in the 1980s, when he was 16 years old, by a now deceased priest and he reached a settlement with the Church last April concerning the allegations.
He now is a member of a support group for other alleged victims of abuse by members of the Roman Catholic clergy in the New Orleans area.
Laywers for about two dozen men suing the Church say in court filings the documents they obtained through discovery show the Saints, whose owner is devoutly Catholic, aided the archdiocese in its “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes”.
The Saints organization and its attorneys have emphatically disputed any suggestion the team helped the church cover up crimes.
In a statement, the Saints said the archdiocese sought its advice on how to handle media attention that would come from its 2018 release of its list of more than 50 clergy members “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.
The archdiocese is also fighting the release of the emails.