Saints seek to prevent public release of emails in Catholic Church court case

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon

The New Orleans Saints organization has gone to court to keep private hundreds of emails that allegedly show public relations damage control advice for the metro area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese, Associated Press reporter Jim Mustian wrote in an in-depth article on Friday morning.

Two dozen men are suing the church with claims of sexual abuse by clergy. Their attorneys reportedly have 276 documents  in which they allege that the Saints aided the Archdiocese of New Orleans in an alleged attempt to conceal crimes.

The Saints responded to the report Friday with the following statement in which they assert organization members provided advice to “be direct, open and fully transparent” publicly. The release also condemned “the actions of certain past clergy.”

While there is current litigation relative to the New Orleans Archdiocese and clergy sex abuse, our comments are limited only to the scope of our involvement. The New Orleans Saints organization has always had a very strong relationship with the Archdiocese.  The Archdiocese reached out to a number of community and civic minded leaders seeking counsel on handling the pending media attention that would come with the release of the clergy names in November of 2018. Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, was contacted and offered input on how to work with the media. The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted. The New Orleans Saints, Greg Bensel and Mrs. Gayle Benson were and remain offended, disappointed and repulsed by the actions of certain past clergy.  We remain steadfast in support of the victims who have suffered and pray for their continued healing.

Further, the Saints have no interest in concealing information from the press or public.  At the current discovery stage in the case of Doe v. Archdiocese, the Saints, through their counsel, have merely requested the court to apply the normal rules of civil discovery to the documents that the Saints produced and delivered to Mr. Doe’s counsel.  Until the documents are admitted into evidence at a public trial or hearing in the context of relevant testimony by persons having knowledge of the documents and the events to which they pertain, the use of the documents should be limited to the parties to the case and their attorneys.  If admitted into evidence of the case, the documents and the testimony pertaining to them will become part of the public record of the trial of the case.

Mustain reported that attorneys for the Saints stated in a court filing that organization members assisted the archdiocese in its publishing of the credibly accused clergy list, but said that was an act of disclosure – “the opposite of concealment.”

  • < PREV Cedric Figaro named head football coach at Lafayette High
  • NEXT > LSU opens preseason baseball practice