AG responds to group demanding investigation on church sex abuse accusations

AG responds to group demanding investigation on church sex abuse accusations
(Source: pexels.com)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -Protesters are planning to gather Friday outside Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Office to demand an investigation into church sexual abuse allegations.

The organization SNAP is calling for a formal investigation in Louisiana after the shocking Pennsylvania report on Catholic priests that came out months ago.

Landry sent the following statement as a response to the group’s request:

“Today, we welcomed a group of men and women to our office who came to have their voices heard. I share their passionate cry to bring child predators to justice. As a father and as Attorney General, the safety of our children is one of my greatest priorities. Whether sexual abuse is committed by a member of the clergy, a school official, a first responder, or a family member, crimes against children should not be tolerated. I highly encourage victims to report any potential crime to the law enforcement office and district attorney in the city or parish where the potential crime took place. It is important to note and remember that law enforcement cannot investigate a potential crime until they have received a complaint of criminal activity. The law of the State of Louisiana does not give me, as Attorney General, the authority to take a prosecution from a district attorney without their request or to launch a statewide prosecution against a person or group. Though the law may prohibit me from doing those things, I have instructed my office to assist in any investigation or prosecution done by local law enforcement if assistance is requested of us. As Attorney General, I offer my full commitment to doing all I legally can to rule out all types of criminal activity.” – Attorney General Jeff Landry

So far SNAP claims there are 78 priests in Louisiana that have been publicly accused, with several right here in the New Orleans area.

In an op-ed last month, Landry wrote that since he has been attorney general, his office has not received one complaint against any clergyman of the Catholic Church. He also said he has not received any referrals from any district attorneys, which is required by law for his office to initiate a prosecution.

Last week, FOX 8 sat down with the Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond about some of these alleged abusers, including former deacon George Brignac.

Records show The Archdioses paid a $500,000 settlement to a victim that claimed Brignac raped him when he was altar boy.

Archbishop Aymond said he is not opposed to a statewide investigation, but added that the church should investigate itself.

“I believe that when anyone does anything that is criminal that criminal charges should be brought against them, and I don’t think because someone is a deacon, a priest or a leader of the church that they should in any way be excused," said Aymond.

The protest is set to take place in Baton Rouge at 11 am.

SNAP also posted a letter on their website that can be signed and sent to the Attorney Generals Office asking for an investigation.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.