2 new victims come forward with allegations against George Brignac, the church
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two new accusers came forward with lawsuits against defrocked deacon George Brignac and the Archdiocese of New Orleans in an 18-page lawsuit filed in New Orleans Civil Court Monday (Oct. 29), alleging they were sexually abused by Brignac in the 1970s and 1980s when they were young boys.
More than a dozen alleged victims of sexual abuse by Brignac have scheduled settlement talks over the next year, according to attorney Roger Stretter, but the two new lawsuits could put Brignac and other church officials on the stand.
New Orleans defense attorney Bobby Hjortsberg said settlements can be advantageous for both sides, because they know what to expect.
“But a trial is unpredictable," Hjortsberg said. “You don’t know what the jury will come back with.”
One of the victims -- a now 49-year-old man -- accused Brignac of grooming, hugging and kissing him while he was a third-grader at Holy Rosary school in 1977. When he was an alter boy the next year, the alleged victim claims Brignac fondled him under his gown as he prepared for mass. According to the lawsuit, the abuse continued for five years. In 1981, when the man was 11 years old, Brignac sexually assaulted him in a car in front of his house after returning from a field trip with other alter boys to a water park, according to the suit.
Litigation against the Archdiocese of New Orleans over alleged actions of Brignac is nothing new, and Stetter said he has ten settlement negotiations scheduled with the archdiocese over the next three months.
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” Stetter said about the settlements. “But when you put a victim on the witness stand, they feel re-victimized."
Stetter said he has already negotiated two large settlements with the archdiocese on behalf of two victims.
“Ultimately they need to deal with these cases one at a time and give each one the serious attention they deserve,” Hjortsberg said.
Fox 8 obtained another lawsuit filed October 9th by an alleged victim who says Brignac sexually assaulted him when he was seven years old. He says it happened in a Holy Rosary church classroom during a church Christmas party in 1987.
The now 37-year-old man claims he had repressed memory about the incident, which came flooding back to him after recent news reports.
The most recent lawsuit accuses the archdiocese of negligence, based on previous accusations. The lawsuit says the church, had “superior knowledge” about the risk that Brignac posed.
Attorney John Denenea said he’s ready for trial.
“I’d rather proceed with litigation, than utilize the secret mediation protocols set out by the archdiocese,” Denenea said.
The archdiocese says it can’t comment on the litigation, but a spokeswoman said their “prayers are with all victims of sexual abuse.”
Brignac has denied the allegations.
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