New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond proudly declared last week that he “was among the first bishops in the country and the first in the State of Louisiana to voluntarily release the names and assignment histories of clerics who were removed from ministry because of accusations they abused a minor.” Notice that he makes two claims here: that he’s “among the first” to disclose predators’ names in the country and in Louisiana. No sophisticated detective skills are needed to determine whether Aymond is telling the truth here.
All it takes is Google and a little patience. And Aymond’s error or deceit becomes crystal clear. Here is a very partial list of dioceses that revealed and/or ‘credibly accused’ clerics list BEFORE Aymond’s New Orleans Archdiocese did so:
- 2002: Tucson, AZ; Baltimore, MD; Cleveland, OH
- 2003: Los Angeles, CA; Manchester, NH
- 2004: Seattle WA
- 2006: Cincinnati, OH; Dubuque, IA
- 2007: Portland OR; Portland, ME
- 2008: Davenport, IA
- 2010: Seattle, WA
- 2012: Chicago, IL
- 2013: Detroit, MI
- 2014: Gallup, NM; Crookston, MN
- 2015: Ft. Worth, TX; Bridgeport, CT
- 2016: Altoona, PA
- 2017: Stockton, CA: Santa Fe, NM
Aymond’s own website shows that he posted a ‘credibly accused’ list on November 2, 2018. That year, however, these Catholic dioceses released ‘credibly accused’ lists before The New Orleans Archdiocese did: Buffalo, NY; Gary, IN; Harrisburg, PA; Little Rock, AR; Nashville, TN; Raleigh, NC; and Allentown, PA.
In November 2018, the same month New Orleans released its list, these dioceses did as well: Rockford, IL; Atlanta, GA; and Ogdensburg, NY. A number of religious orders disclosed their lists BEFORE New Orleans released its list. They include the Capuchins, Christian Brothers, Crosiers, Dominicans, and the Benedictines of St. John’s Abbey, MN.
Finally, New Orleans wasn’t even the first Catholic entity in Louisiana to name its child-molesting clerics. Earlier in 2018, BEFORE Aymond’s archdiocese acted, the Benedictines of Louisiana posted such a list. (You can search diocesan websites and confirm this yourself. But BishopAccountability.org has made it easier to do this with one simple link.
So, a quick and straightforward look at Catholic websites across the US clearly shows that when Archbishop Aymond puffs out his chest, claiming he “was among the first bishops in the country and the first in Louisiana” to release abusers’ names, he is just not telling the truth. So why does this matter? Aymond’s under attack these days. Just over a year ago, his flock must have reeled when they saw these headlines:
He’s also been accused of sexually harassing a seminarian.
In 2020, clergy abuse victims protested when news outlets “sued for access to emails between the New Orleans Saints and the archdiocese” after Aymond’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing children or vulnerable adults was criticized as inadequate. In 2021, victims protested again when Aymond went to a church “to burn a church altar where a priest was caught having sex with two dominatrices.”
Just this month:
- A newspaper reported that two of Aymond’s flock, a Catholic mom and dad, “are advocating for schools and other parochial institutions to be formally required to obtain fully informed parental consent before priests are left alone with children to hear about – and forgive – their sins as part of what is also known as reconciliation.”
- Aymond’s parishioners read another disturbing news account headlined, “New Orleans Archdiocese failed to monitor priests accused of sexual abuse.” He also seemed to leave out a few names from the most recent credibly accused list.
- And just last week, a group of Louisiana clergy sex abuse victims called on him to resign again.
So Aymond’s on the hot seat these days. But when you’re on the hot seat, facing a range of criticism on several fronts, maybe that’s a good time to re-examine your public relations strategy.
And IF you’re under fire for being deceitful, maybe it’s best not to use deceit to try and defend yourself. All of this raises an obvious but troubling question: if New Orleans’ archbishop knows he’s under scrutiny yet tells a pretty obvious lie, what other untruths has he said that isn’t so easily disproved?
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.