BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The New Orleans Saints are in hot water for coaching the New Orleans Archdiocese on its messaging during the peak of its sex abuse scandal.
Attorneys allege the Saints aided the church in “damage control,” though the Saints contend it instructed the church to be “direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted.”
“Here is a beloved team that I fight and scream for,” season ticket holder Kevin Bourgeois said. “And it’s giving the church advice on how to not be straightforward? It kills me.”
Bourgeois says he was abused by a priest when he was in high school. He has since taken legal action against the church and now leads a support group for victims through SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“I was afraid to tell anyone and that’s my experience with kids who are abused by priests,” he said. “They are beating into submission - not literally, but figuratively - to not come forward.”
The Saints argue they should not be required to release the emails between executives and the Archdiocese’ communications team unless the messages are introduced as evidence in court.
The controversy has put a spotlight on owner Gayle Benson’s relationship with archbishop Gregory Aymond. Bourgeois says the Saints should cut ties with the church.
“Be straightforward and release all their communications that have nothing to do with privileged client information.”