Hope Haven orphanage at epicenter of priest sex abuse scandal in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – Eight of the 57 members of the clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors worked at a Marrero orphanage, according to the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

All eight priests were Salesians, members of a religious order founded in Italy by St. John Bosco.

On November 2, Archbishop Gregory Aymond released the names of the 57 priests, deacons, clergy, and religious order priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor since 1950.

Eight priests, accounting for about 14 percent of those named, were either stationed solely at Hope Haven orphanage on Barataria Boulevard in Marrero  or worked there in addition to other assignments in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Established in 1925, Hope Haven was home to countless orphans from across the metro area and run by Salesian priests.

Paul Avallone, S.D.B., is thought to have been actively abusing minors during the 1950s and 1960s. In addition to Hope Haven, Avallone was also attached to Archbishop Shaw High School.

He died in 2008.

Stanislaus Ceglar, S.D.B., has been accused of sexually abusing minors during the 1960s when he was at Hope Haven.

Paul Csik, S.D.B., was at Hope Haven while he was sexually abusing minors in the 1960s, according to the Archdiocese. Csik died in 1970.

Anthony Esposito, S.D.B., was assigned to Hope Haven while sexually abusing minors in the 1950s and 1960s, according to the Archdiocese.

Joseph Pankowski, S.D.B., was at Hope Haven in the 1940s and 1950s while he was sexually abusing minors, according to the Archdiocese. Pankowski died in 1981.

Ernest Fagione, S.D.B, was assigned to Archbishop Shaw High School, Hope Haven, and St. John Bosco during his time as a priest.

Fagione is accused of sexually abusing minors in the 1950s and 1960s, according to the Archdiocese. He died in 2006.

August Kita, S.D.B., was assigned to Hope Haven in the 1960s and 1970s while he was sexually abusing minors, according to the Archdiocese. Kita died in 2008.

Hope Haven was the only pastoral assignment for Alfred Sokol, S.D.B., who the Archdiocese says sexually abuse minors in the 1960s and 1970s. He died in 2004.

None of the eight accused Salesian priests have been officially removed from ministry.

Aymond encourages any victims who have not yet come forward to contact Victims Assistance Coordinator Br. Stephan Synan, F.M.S. at (504) 522-5019.

Click here to view the full list of priests, deacons, clergy, and religious order priests who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor.