Bourgeois Secret Abuse Settlement
Title: Victim of clergy abuse says Archdiocese tried to keep settlement details secret, against its own rules
Author: David Hammer
A Church code adopted by the U.S. Conference of Bishops specifically forbids the Archdiocese from muzzling victims about their settlements.
NEW ORLEANS — As the Archdiocese of New Orleans went to court last week to try to bar new claims of sex abuse by priests, a leading voice for victims spoke out anew about his own abuse settlement with the Church.
Kevin Bourgeois settled with the archdiocese in 2019 for $150,000 and two years of therapy to address his claims of molestation 36 years earlier by a now-deceased priest.
Last week, Bourgeois provided WWL-TV with documents indicating the archdiocese wanted to keep the terms of his settlement secret, in apparent violation of a 2002 church code that sought to address the sex abuse allegations in the U.S. head on.
Another document showed the Archdiocese tried to get Bourgeois to sign a tax form as a “vendor” and threatened to deduct from payments for his therapy if he didn’t. The Archdiocese told WWL-TV that it sent him a form letter by mistake and apologized for the error.
Bourgeois is sharing his concerns about how the Archdiocese handled his abuse settlement just as the Church is stepping up its efforts to stop a raft of lawsuits alleging child sex abuse by priests and cover ups by archdiocesan leaders.
Last week, the Archdiocese filed a motion in its bankruptcy case asking the court to bar any new abuse claims starting in September. Abuse victims came right back with a motion to dismiss the Archdiocese’s bankruptcy case, a move that would help pending abuse claims move forward.
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