Lawsuit: Teen raped by Salesian priest in 1970s

Lawsuit: Teen raped by Salesian priest in 1970s

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In a new lawsuit, a man claims a Salesian priest in Marrero raped him. The suit was filed Wednesday at Orleans Parish Civil Court against the Salesians of Don Bosco, the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

The alleged victim in the new lawsuit says he was 17 at the time of the crime. The suit doesn’t identify the man but names him as “CJ Doe.” He says he met the priest, Salvatore Isgro or “Father Sam,” in 1979 while working at a local hospital to save money for a class ring. That summer, he says Father Sam asked him to care for a Salesian Brother, a double amputee who lived at the Salesians’ residence at Archbishop Shaw High School in Marrero.

At the end of each day, the man says he would pick up a check signed by Father Sam. The lawsuit claims that in November of that year, as the alleged victim went to pick up his check, Father Sam came from behind and put a vial filled with what smelled like ammonia under his nose. The suit claims CJ Doe became dizzy and disoriented, and that’s when the priest pulled down the alleged victim’s pants and raped him.

According to the suit, that was the last time CJ Doe visited at the Salesians’ residence.

This September, the lawsuit says the alleged victim “wrote a detailed letter to Archbishop Gregory Aymond” about the assault, and Aymond called the man and eventually met with him in October. The lawsuit says, “Archbishop Aymond expressed to CJ Doe that he knew Father Sam very well, and that he believed CJ Doe’s story.” But a statement from the Archdiocese of New Orleans disputes that claim. While the Archdiocese says Aymond did meet with the alleged victim, it says the archbishop did not know the accused priest. The Archdiocese statement goes on to say, “after hearing the victim’s story, the archbishop put him in touch with the Salesians for further care and counseling.”

The alleged victim is now seeking damages for the suffering he endured after he says Father Sam raped him.

Father Salvatore Isgro, who died in 1990, wasn’t included in Archbishop Gregory Aymond’s recently released list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse. The Archdiocese says Isgro wasn’t on the list because they “consulted with the Salesians in formulating the November 2nd list and was advised that the Salesians were uncertain as to the identity of the accused. Relying on that information, Salesian Father Salvatore Isgro’s name does not appear on the list.”

FOX 8 did reach out to the Salesians of Don Bosco but haven’t gotten a response.

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