New subpoena seeks communications between Saints and Archdiocese

Updated: Jul. 26, 2019 at 6:04 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Attorneys for a man who claims a former Catholic Deacon abused him is attempting to get emails exchanged between New Orleans Saints officials and the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

A lawsuit filed last year alleges former Deacon George Brignac abused the plaintiff as an altar boy beginning in the late 1970s.

It is a case called John Doe versus the Catholic Church of New Orleans and Deacon George Brignac.

The suit accuses Brignac of abusing a young altar boy beginning in 1977 at Holy Rosary Church on Esplanade Avenue.

The alleged victim was 8-years-old at the time.

FOX 8 obtained court documents that say the abuse began with Brignac hugging and kissing the boy on the head, face, and lips.

The abuse allegedly continued until he was 13, ending with an alleged sexual assault in 1982.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has paid out tens of thousands of dollars in settlements to other Brignac accusers.

Now, the attorneys for ‘John Doe’ have issued a subpoena attempting to get emails, text messages, and other written communication sent between New Orleans Saints Vice President and Communications Director Greg Bensel and Archbishop Gregory Aymond,

Brignac accusers believe the church simply moved him from parish to parish without properly addressing abuse allegationsuntil he was permanently removed as a deacon in 1988.

Last year, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said that new policies are working.

“We have not had a credible allegation in 15 years,” said Aymond.

Bensel has assisted the archbishop in dealing with the media, but it’s unclear what the new subpoenas are targeting.

" I think this is an attempt to get discovery that he can’t any other way; .taking the back door route," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti says it could be an effort to acquire information that may not qualify as ‘privileged’ communication between attorneys.

“Ultimately it shouldn’t be easier because the same rules should apply, and I think that maybe he is trying use some information from the Saints that he couldn’t get otherwise,” said Raspanti.

Attorneys for John Doe accuse the Archdiocese of fraudulent concealment, in the original lawsuit.

The lawsuit involving the alleged victim at Holy Rosary accuses the archdiocese of failing to have sufficient policies and procedures to prevent abuse.

Neither Bensel nor the Archdiocese would comment, but in the past, the Archbishop said new policies governing abuse have curtailed allegations.

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