AP says the Saints helped decide which names went on list of ‘credibly accused’ clergy

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NEW ORLEANS – According to a follow-up story by the Associated Press, the New Orleans Saints were much more involved in the Archdiocese of New Orleans’ clergy sex abuse scandal than previously thought.

On January 24, the Saints confirmed that Greg Bensel, Senior Vice President of Communications for the New Orleans Saints, assisted the Archdiocese with messaging before the Archdiocese released a list of clergy who had been “credibly accused” of the sexual abuse of children.

That admission from the Saints came after the AP published a story revealing the existence of nearly 300 emails between between members of the Saints PR staff and the communications department of the Archdiocese. Those emails have come to light in a lawsuit filed by about two dozen men claiming abuse at the hands of clergy members.

At the time, the Saints said Bensel offered only “simple” advice on how to proceed when the Archdiocese reached out to the organization ahead of the 2018 release of the list.

“The advice was simple and never wavering. Be direct, open and fully transparent, while making sure that all law enforcement agencies were alerted,” the Saints said.

That account by the Saints doesn’t hold up, according to a story released on January 30 by the AP.

“Attorneys suing the Archdiocese of New Orleans say a trove of emails show “the @Saints appear to have had a hand in determining which names should or should not have been included on the pedophile list,” the AP tweeted.

The Saints have yet to respond to the new revelations.

The Archdiocese released the following statement regarding the release of the additional information:

“We generally refrain from commenting on pending litigation. However, there are some issues the Archdiocese of New Orleans would like to address publicly. As any business facing a major communications issue, the Archdiocese of New Orleans sought trusted counsel in working with the media to release the Report on Clergy Abuse in 2018. The role of the New Orleans Saints was limited to guidance in releasing this information to media, not to advise on the content of the report.”

Archdiocese of New Orleans

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