Alleged clergy abuse victim speaks on church bankruptcy

Updated: May. 20, 2020 at 4:38 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - An alleged clergy abuse victim whose lawsuit against the Catholic Church was held up by the church bankruptcy filing two weeks ago wants others to come forward.

He calls the bankruptcy filing a delay tactic, something the Church says is not true.

He says the physical and sexual abuse occurred at Madonna Manor in the mid-70s at the hands of three nuns. He says the worst abuser was 6 feet tall and weighed around 300 pounds.

“She was abusive, she programmed me to do what she wanted,” the alleged victim referred to as Jeff, said.

He claims the abuse begin when he was 11 years old, at the Westbank youth home, he said he was sent to, to deal with dyslexia.

"She started off hitting me causing me to do things," Jeff said.

The alleged victim says one nun, abused him for four months. He says two others abused him sporadically after guitar lessons.

“Two or three nights a week every week for four months,” Jeff said.

“Madonna Manor has a deep history of abuse so deep just left for the history books,” plaintiff attorney John Denenea said.

Denenea filed suit on behalf of this Madonna Manor accuser last year.

“We were on the verge of having that information discovered,” Denenea said.

That lawsuit has now been held up and moved to federal court because of the may first bankruptcy filing by the archdiocese of New Orleans.

“It angered me. I know it’s a stall tactic,” Jeff said.

Attorney Denenea says he is representing 25 victims.

The Archdiocese says it filed for bankruptcy to protect itself and claims the bankruptcy filing will open the door to a fairer process.

"All victims and survivors are treated equally. We want to be able to compensate all of them," Archbishop Gregory Aymond told Fox 8, on May 1st.

Plaintiff attorneys believe there are many more victims out there. And they say they need to move quickly.

“There will be a decision made that says you have to file by certain deadline called a bar date,” Denenea said.

The latest victim says he dropped out of school in the sixth grade dealing with scars that lasted a lifetime.

“The only justice they can give me is accept what they’ve done,” Jeff said.

And he says he needs more healing, and help.

No word on when bankruptcy judge Meredith Grabill, may begin approving settlements.

RELATED: Archdiocese of New Orleans files for bankruptcy to “reorganize their finances”

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