Orleans Catholic Church Rev. Patrick Wattigny removed ministry because of child sex abuse admission

Two investigations ongoing with local priests

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Thursday that two priests have been removed from its ministry active immediately.

Reverend Patrick Wattigny disclosed today his sexual abuse of a minor in 2013. His name will be added to the list of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Clergy Abuse Report. Law enforcement has been notified, according to the Catholic Church.

PATRICK WATTIGNY

Date of Birth: September 9, 1967

Ordination: June 4, 1994

Time of Abuse: 2013

Abuse Reported: October 1, 2020

Removed from Ministry: October 1, 2020

Pastoral Assignments:

  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Kenner
  • St. Benilde, Metaire
  • St. Luke the Evangelist, Slidell
  • St. Peter, Covington
  • The Visitation of Our Lady, Marrero
  • Archbishop Rummel High School, Metairie
  • Pope John Paul II, Slidell

Reverend Travis Clark has been charged with obscenity with women. This charge does not involve abuse of a minor. Fr. Clark was serving as pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River.

"Both of these situations are very troubling to me. When a priest does not live out his vocation faithfully he suffers consequences and I must notify the parishioners, school families, and public in general.

Please pray for all those affected, especially the parishioners of the parishes and school communities where they have served.," Archbishop Gregory Aymond said.

SNAP New Orleans released a statement calling onto the Archdiocese of New Orleans to do ‘immediate outreach so that parishioners are aware of the abuse and other victims are encouraged to come forward.’

See the full SNAP statement below:

According to reports, Rev. Patrick Wattigny disclosed to church officials at the Archdiocese of New Orleans that he had sexually abused a child in 2013. How many other minors at the seven posts in his 26 year tenure were abused?

The public has the right to know how long Archbishop Greg Aymond and his legal team knew about Wattigny’s criminal behavior. At the very least, today he was added to the list of accused priests and now it is incumbent on him to use all of the resources at his disposal to ensure his flock is aware of the allegation. Other survivors are encouraged to contact the police. Canon law requires Aymond to report Wattigny to law enforcement and to commence a canonical investigation.

This story is yet another example that the sexual abuse crisis in the catholic church (and New Orleans) is not a “thing of the past,” as church officials have claimed for years. This news sends a clear message that parents and parishioners must remain vigilant when it comes to leaving children alone with older adults and to to watch out for signs of grooming or abuse. When communities are informed, abuse can be prevented, and we hope this news will encourage more people to learn more about the realities of sexual violence and what role they can play in preventing future sex crimes."

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