Authorities Say The New Orleans Archdiocese Is The Focus Of A Child Trafficking Probe

( — According to investigators in New Orleans, Louisiana, police are focusing on the New Orleans archdiocese in an ongoing child trafficking probe.

Louisiana State Police recently issued a warrant to the catholic archdiocese of New Orleans, marking the first time state authorities have investigated the organization as a whole rather than specific clergy members. The primary allegation from Louisiana State police is that the clergy actively participated in a decades-long cover-up and had knowledge of clergy members engaging in sexual abuse against minors.

The warrant stems from an independent investigation into a lone priest for the Catholic church, whom prosecutors believe assaulted minors during his time as a clergy member. While investigating the priest, authorities uncovered evidence of church members knowing about child sexual abuse by other people in the clergy. According to investigators, the church actively covered up allegations of child sex abuse for several decades, and members of the church decided to avoid reporting the child abuse to law enforcement.

Police aren’t just basing their investigation on statements from victims or members of the Catholic Church, as several Louisiana state troopers have claimed they found documents proving that high-ranking members of the church knew about widespread child abuse within the religious organization. Prosecutors claim that high-ranking Church members didn’t just suppress information about the child abuse either, as they said the church used donations and other contributions to fund legal battles relating to the abuse allegations.

Police have requested the New Orleans archdiocese give investigators any documents relating to any child abuse allegations against people employed by or associated with the church to combat this seemingly coordinated cover-up. Despite the broad investigation into the New Orleans archdiocese, the warrant fails to name any priests or other church members accused of abusing children. Investigators do have access to witness testimony from people who suffered abuse from church members, so further charges could follow the warrant’s conclusion.

The warrant serves as a follow-up on a damning report from media outlets in 2023, which accused New Orleans’s archdiocese of engaging in a cover-up of abuse allegations while it attempted to gain bankruptcy protection. The report featured information about Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who allegedly refused to turn over information to investigators about priests accused of abusing children. Aymond declined to provide names to investigators despite his legal team encouraging his cooperation, a decision that authorities claim hindered investigations for years.

Copyright 2024,