The heated controversy surrounding the New Orleans Saints and their involvement in the matter of accused child predator, George Brignac has intensified significantly. This comes after attorneys representing some of the alleged victims claimed that the hundreds of confidential emails indicate that the NFL team’s involvement far exceeded what they claimed to be ‘minimal’ public relations work. It appears that the team, in fact, aided the Archdiocese to identify which members of the clergy should be named on what can only be perceived to be a ‘pedophile list.’ The list supposedly names as many as 63 clergy members in New Orleans who have been suspected of preying on children during the course of the 20th century.
Multiple accusations were ignored
The list in question was first published in 2018 as the Archdiocese became embroiled in a scandal involving Brignac, who was a long-time teacher and deacon and continued serving in the ministry decades after being accused of being a sexual predator. The accused was allegedly protected by the Archdiocese and moved around several schools after being accused of fondling the genitalia of young boys. Last year, the now 85-year-old Brignac was indicted by an Orleans Parish grand jury on the claims that he raped an altar boy in the early seventies.
Archdiocese faced with high-profile lawsuit
Sexual abuse by clergy is not a new occurrence and is sadly becoming increasingly prevalent. Apart from the charges against Brignac, the Archdiocese is also facing a very high-profile case of fraud and negligence in the Parish of Orleans’ Civil District Court. Any alleged victim, such as the John Doe who brought forward the lawsuit against Brignac, can benefit significantly from having a dedicated clergy sexual abuse lawyer on their side. Doe’s legal team insists that Gayle Benson, owner of the Saints and close friend of the local Archbishop, together with a number of senior franchise members, casually but continuously counseled Archbishop Gregory Aymond and other members of the Archdiocese.
The team’s involvement remains murky
Despite their alleged involvement in manipulating the list containing the names of sexual predators, the Saints are not party to any lawsuits and are not formally accused of being involved in the management of the clergy in any way. They are, however, implicated in the litigation process, as that the team officials advised the Archdiocese on the media fallout they were experiencing. Should the case go to trial, which it more than likely will, team officials could be called in as witnesses. Even if there are no legal implications for the team, the NFL still has the authority to punish the team if they deem it fit. Both Article VII and the personal conduct policy of the constitution of the NFL allow for punishments, including suspensions and fines up to $500,000.
Only time will tell what punishment, if any, the Saints will face as a result of their alleged involvement in the case. The outcome for the Archdiocese, however, looks grim, as the mounting evidence into its misconduct is seemingly sufficient for a ruling in favor of Mr. John Doe.