One National Football League (NFL) team has come under intense scrutiny for its alleged role in helping the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans deal with the clergy sexual abuse crisis. Documents obtained from a lawsuit filed by more than 20 abuse survivors indicate the New Orleans Saints organization may have provided undisclosed public relations help to the Archdiocese in dealing with ongoing abuse allegations, potentially enabling the Church’s concealment of the extent of the underlying scandal.
Court documents reveal team executives from the NFL’s Saints included damage control suggestions to the Archdiocese of New Orleans in dealing with the clergy abuse crisis. The Saints have confirmed the Archdiocese did seek advice from its public relations department on how to handle the anticipated negative media attention it would receive as a result of releasing a list of credibly accused priests. In 2018, the Archdiocese released a list of over 50 clergy members who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse.
Saints representatives deny providing any assistance with covering up sexual abuse allegations. They claim the advice given to the Archdiocese focused on being fully transparent and cooperative with law enforcement in handling these types of claims. The team has filed a court motion requesting the emails remain sealed. Media outlets, including the Associated Press, have filed their own motions urging the release of the emails as a matter of public concern. As the Saints used the nfl.com email domain in their correspondence with the Archdiocese, the NFL has also become involved.
Survivor advocacy groups criticize the Church’s handling of allegations made against abusive priests. They stress the Church has a history of covering up allegations of abuse and protecting abusive priests by transferring them to other parishes and in some cases, hiding them from law enforcement. Some survivors and their family members report being pressured by their local parishes to remain quiet about the abuse they experienced. In other cases, the Church allegedly tried to silence survivors by forcing them to sign non-disclosure agreements before receiving monetary payments.
Individuals who experienced clergy sexual abuse may be entitled to compensation. The first step in moving forward with a claim of clergy abuse is to contact an experienced Trenton clergy abuse lawyer who can help survivors and their families navigate the civil legal system.
At Williams Cedar, our experienced Trenton clergy abuse lawyers proudly stand with individuals dealing with the aftermath of clergy abuse and protect their right to seek justice against their abusers. We work with clergy abuse survivors and their families to help them obtain the maximum amount of compensation for their abuse they endured. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clergy abuse survivors and their families throughout New Jersey. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 856-470-9777 or contact us online.