Two new lawsuits filed against Archdiocese of New Orleans

Two new lawsuits filed against Archdiocese of New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - One year after the Archdiocese of New Orleans released a list of abusive clergy, alleged victims filed new lawsuits to try and meet a deadline.

Attorneys involved in these cases say their clients may only have one year from the re-election of their alleged abuse to file suit.

“One day I was getting off of school, and crossed the playground, and went by the rectory and he was there,” said the 61-year-old man who wishes to remain anonymous. He says the then monsignor at Saint Raphael the Archangel Church on Elysian Fields raped him when he was 10-years-old.

The church has since changed names.

“He was talking about the pigeons, and invited me into his office, he had some pheasants on the wall, stuffed pheasants. I went in there, and I was looking at them, and he came up behind me, and did his thing,” said the alleged victim.

He said he didn’t tell anyone. “My father might have killed him, and kids my age would have made fun of me, or whatever,” he said.

Shortly after the incident, he says he considered taking his own life.

"Just depressed I was going to give up, and end it...but I changed my mind," he said.

He went to an attorney… Roger Stetter… in early January, saying reports on abusive clergy jogged his memory.

“Put it out my mind, and didn’t remember it until ten months ago, when I saw Roger on TV,” said the alleged victim.

This week marks one year since the Archdiocese of New Orleans released the list of 57 credibly accused abusive clergy members.

Stetter says it was important to file this new lawsuit now.

"I certainly don't want the clock to run out," said attorney Roger Stetter.

The deceased monsignor named in the suit, is not on the archdiocese list, but Stetter says he and others should be.

"I would like to see more transparency, and all the records of those who have been listed posted on the internet," said Stetter.

Stetter is one of several local attorneys who have filed new lawsuits in recent weeks. He says he has mediated 20 other claims this year and would welcome trial on this latest civil action.

“If I took this case to trial i would probably get a settlement of five or $10 million, they don’t want to run that risk, nor do they want the publicity,” said Stetter.

Sources say an Orleans grand jury is now looking into allegations of clergy abuse and could bring criminal charges this week, against at least one former clergy member.

"I'm delighted it's about time," said Stetter.

Meantime alleged victims say lawsuits are the only viable option as they seek compensation for past wrongs.

"It's the right thing to do, and it has to be done, and I'm doing it," said the alleged victim.

The archdiocese would not comment on the new litigation but put out a statement saying, in part, ‘We continue to address and investigate allegations that are reported to us and once again pledge our full cooperation with any law enforcement investigations into criminal actions.’

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