Former Catholic Deacon George Brignac dies at 85; was awaiting trial for rape

Victim speaks out after defrocked deacon George Brignac arrested on rape charge

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Former Catholic Deacon George Brignac died Monday at the age of 85, according to his attorney Martin Regan.

Brignac was removed from the Catholic ministry in 1988 after he was accused of sexually abusing young boys in the 1970s and 80s.

Regan tells FOX 8 that Brignac fell and hurt his back while in the Orleans Parish Justice Center and was undergoing rehabilitation at Maison Orleans Nursing Home when he became ill.

He was taken to the hospital Monday.

In 1978, Brignac was acquitted of charges that he sexually abused three boys at St. Matthew’s in River Ridge before the Archdiocese moved him to Holy Rosary.

One of those boys tells FOX 8 that he is disappointed that he won’t be able to testify against Brignac at his upcoming trial.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans removed Brignac from the ministry in 1988 after his third arrest on allegations of child molestation, though prosecutors eventually refused those charges. Brignac was found not guilty.

However, Brignac was reading Scripture as a lay minister during masses at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Metairie as recently as 2018, before the archdiocese again stripped him of the role.

He was arrested again in September of 2019 and was released from jail on a $40,000 bond Sept. 22.

Brignac was then indicted last December. A criminal court judge set bond at $1 million.

“Brignac had previously been charged and was acquitted and was looking forward to a new trial in order to clear his name, but unfortunately he won’t be able to do that,” said Regan.

In 2018, one of Brignac’s alleged victims called for his arrest after he says he was raped while he was a student at Holy Rosary School in the 1970s.

Multiple victims later came forward also accusing Brignac of sexual abuse.

One of the victims, a man now in his 50′s, accused Brignac of grooming, hugging, and kissing him while he was a third-grader at Holy Rosary school in 1977.

When he was an alter boy the next year, the alleged victim claims Brignac fondled him under his gown as he prepared for mass.

According to a lawsuit, the abuse continued for five years. In 1981, when the man was 11 years old, Brignac sexually assaulted him in a car in front of his house after returning from a field trip with other alter boys to a water park.

The Archdiocese has since paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars of settlements to victims who have accused Brignac of sexual abuse.

“Our thoughts are with the victims of this man, those who suffered traumatic sexual abuse as children and hoped to see justice finally rendered as adults. Our staff put hundreds of hours into this case to secure the grand jury indictment of Mr. Brignac last December and in preparation for trial,” Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said.

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