New Orleans Saints deny trying to conceal documents pertaining to church sex abuse cases

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The New Orleans Saints deny trying to conceal emails about how a team executive helped the Archdiocese of New Orleans deal with alleged church sex abuse cases.

New Orleans Saints deny trying to conceal documents pertaining to church sex abuse cases. | Source: AP Photo / Bob Leverone

The attorneys for alleged victims want those documents made public. Attorneys argue the records show a member of Saints leadership counseled the Archdiocese on how to handle damage control over alleged sex abuse involving clergy.

The Saints released the following statement Friday:

“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.”

Attorneys for a John Doe currently suing the Archdiocese of New Orleans over alleged sex abuse by now defrocked Deacon George Brignac also released a statement:

“Clearly, Greg Bensel and Gayle Marie Benson have not read the emails that the Saints are trying to conceal from the public. While we are not allowed to comment on what the records and emails contain at this time, we can state unequivocally what is not in them; and that is - - that there is absolutely no discussion about any concern or sympathy for any particular victims of children being raped by clergy. None.”

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