NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -A new civil lawsuit filed in district court Thursday says the Archdiocese paid for counseling for the daughter of a former Saint’s player, after a member of the clergy allegedly sexually abused her. The filing petitions for damages from the catholic church for Linda Lee Stonebreaker.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans released a list in 2018 of 57 credibly accused clergy members of child sex abuse. But a new lawsuit filed in civil district court says it also should have included the name of deceased priest Louis LeBourgeois.
Linda Lee Stonebreaker attended weekly mass at St. Matthew when her father Steve Stonebreaker played for the Saints. Court documents say LeBourgeois was moved to St. Matthews in the 1960′s, after serving previous as a priest at St. Charles Borromeo. But court filings say the abuse started when LeBourgeois drove Stonebreaker home one night.
The lawsuit says Stonebreaker was only 4 years old when LeBourgeois offered to help her mother bring her home. Documents show Stonebreaker “hesitantly got into the front seat” when he told her “I’m God in man form” and pulled up her dress.
During the drive, LeBourgeois allegedly touched her genitalia repeatedly before telling her “I am doing to you what other men will do to you in the future, only I am doing it first”.
After that he allegedly orally raped her. Documents continue to say LeBourgeois wouldn’t let her get out of the car until she stopped crying, and then said parents “wouldn’t believe or love her”.
Stonebreaker’s attorneys in a statement say they hope Louisiana lawmakers will revise a statute that will better provide justice for victims of sexual assault. They point out eighteen other states and Washington D.C. have passed similar new laws.
They say in part “Until Louisiana opens the door of justice for victims, we can expect that victims of sexual abuse by clergy will continue to come forward and uncover the fraudulent concealment of these cases of sexual abuse that have been kept secret by an organization that until now has had unlimited power to protect them.”
When LeBourgeois died in 2015, documents say the archbishop reached out to Stonebreaker to apologize about what happened to her, but told her the investigation into LeBourgeois would be closed.
However, the lawsuit says the archdiocese continued to pay Stonebreaker's medical and counseling bills, arguing these payments were the archdiocese recognizing the pain she went through and an effort to conceal another instance of child sex abuse.
The Archdiocese is named in a second lawsuit by the same pair of attorneys.
In it, a James Doe claims he was sexually abused at "sleepovers" at least six times while he was a 1st grade student at St. Raphael.
The civil district court lawsuit names two priests, Father Michael Fraser and Father Paul Calamari. Both are listed on the archdiocese's list of credibly accused.
The Archdiocese says they do not comment on pending litigation.