Today, the Associated Press released a story about a New Orleans Saints executive helping with damage control with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese.
The New Orleans Saints are going to court over whether or not the communications between the Saints and Archdiocese should be made public.
The Associated Press story states: “A court-appointed special master is expected to hear arguments in the coming weeks on whether the communications should remain confidential.”
Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel is the man that was in communication with the church advising on messaging to “soften the impact of the archdiocese’s release of a list of clergy members “credibly accused” of sexual abuse.”
A 2018 email exchange between Bensel and Sarah McDonald, the archdiocese’s communications director, concluded with McDonald stating “I don’t think we want to say we ‘support’ victims going to the courts, but we certainly encourage them to come forward.”
Deacon George Brignac, the former Catholic deacon at Holy Rosary Church in New Orleans, is the man being accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year old boy in the late 1970s.
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According to Fox 8 court obtained documents, “the abuse began with Brignac hugging and kissing the boy on the head, face, and lips.” This all lasted until the boy was 13 years old. This case is referred to as John Doe versus the Catholic Church of New Orleans and Deacon George Brignac.
Brignac was removed from the ministry in 1988 after he was accused of being fondled by a boy at a Christmas party. The accusation coming after numerous others complaining of similar treatment.
New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson is said to have a close relationship with New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, of whom she has been seen with at games, charity events, and funeral of her late husband and former Saints owner Tom Benson.
Benson has given millions of dollars to the surrounding area’s Catholic churches.
What also makes this story interesting is that there were rumors that Saints team ownership may be going to the Archdiocese of New Orleans after the owner passes. If that were to be true, the cover by the Saints executive would align with why this was done.
One thing that is safe to say is that not everyone will make it out of this with the organization. Gayle Benson has been the focus of some removal reactions, but Bensel may be the person who ends up taking complete ownership.
Here is the statement form the New Orleans Saints responding to this AP story.
We’ll keep the site updated on any changes to this story.