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New Court filings accuse Archdiocese of New Orleans of continuing to support priest credibly accused of child sex abuse

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 5:16 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 5:18 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -New court filings accuse the Archdiocese of New Orleans of buying the silence of a priest credibly accused of child sex abuse.

Attorneys for an alleged victim say the church kept Lawrence Hecker on the payroll and even paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2002 when the church claimed he was removed from the ministry.

The court filings are part of a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New Orleans and Father Lawrence Hecker. That lawsuit claims Hecker is a serial pedophile who has sexually abused countless children. In a new motion filed Friday, attorneys for one of Hecker’s alleged victims, say they believe the Archdiocese continues to support him.

Hecker was named on the Archdiocese’s 2018 list of clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse. The church says it removed him from ministry in 2002. But, in the new court filings, the plaintiff’s attorneys say “the Archdiocese kept Hecker employed, continued to pay him on a monthly basis, continued to pay his health insurance, continued to pay his car insurance, and likely continued to pay numerous other expenses” even after the Archdiocese learned of his pedophilia.

According to the court records, the Archdiocese list Hecker as “retired” in its own 2019 directory of priests, entitling him to a host of benefits.

The latest court filing also says “the Archdiocese’s credibility is implicated because it placed Hecker on its pedophile list in 2018, based on allegations it received in 2002, and has nonetheless not taken any adverse employment action against him. This does not even take into account the numerous allegations of sexual abuse the Archdiocese may have learned about Hecker dating back as far as the 1960′s. Rather than report him to the authorities with a full accounting of all his victims, the Archdiocese has paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars in income and benefits to live among the public in areas where children reside and go to school. This kind of managerial decision-making is emblematic of how one organization could become the largest known employer of pedophiles in the New Orleans area.”

Earlier this week, we tracked down Hecker and found him living in an Uptown apartment.

“Reporter: we’re trying to get in touch with you about new court filings that allege you are a serial predator, do you have any response to that? Hecker: no comment. Reporter: do you continue to receive financial support from the Archdiocese of New Orleans? Hecker: no comment. Reporter: did you sexually assault children? Hecker: no comment. Reporter: do you have any comment? Hecker: no, bye.”

We reached out to the Archdiocese of New Orleans about the new court filings. In a statement, the Archdiocese said: “We cannot comment on the legal proceedings, however we pray for the victims and survivors of abuse every day and ask others to join in prayer for their healing.”

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