The FBI appears to be intensifying its investigation of alleged sexual abuse of children by priests and other employees of the Roman Catholic Church. A retired priest in New Orleans has acknowledged to reporters that he was questioned by the FBI. The circumstances surrounding the questioning have led reporters for the U. S. edition of British newspaper The Guardian to suggest that the questioning was related to alleged sex crimes involving children.
The priest’s questionable past
The priest admitted that he spoke with FBI agents but did not reveal the subject of the agents’ questions. The priest said that he needed to speak to his attorney before continuing the interview. The priest’s attorney confirmed the fact of the interview but did not comment any further on what may have been said by the priest.
According to the Guardian report, the priest may be “the most notorious still-living priest” on a list of clerics who have been the subjects of credible allegations that priests have taken children to another state for the purpose of sexually abusing them. The list of priests at whom such allegations have been aimed has climbed from 50 to nearly 80. New Orleans is home to nearly 500,000 members of the Roman Catholic faith.
Allegations against the priest
Many of the allegations about the priest in question were contained in a complaint against him that was filed in 2019 after the Archbishop of New Orleans released a list of priests who had been the subject of credible allegations of committing sexual abuse on children. An attorney for the New Orleans Archdiocese disclosed in open court that church officials first learned of the subject priest’s involvement in four cases of alleged molestation that were resolved under an agreement that required the church to make payments to the individuals making the allegations of abuse.
How did the church react?
The Archdiocese permitted the priest to continue his employment and then retire with full benefits until 2020. The church, despite having credible information about the priest’s criminal activities, has refused to refer the matter to the police or FBI.
Victims of sexual abuse by the clergy have rights. Experienced attorneys can inform them of their legal options.