Priest Fires Back at Three Accusers
Abuse Claims Prompt Defamation Lawsuit
By Bruce Nolan
Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
June 28, 2006
A Marrero Catholic priest named in three sexual abuse suits has sued his accusers, saying their allegations are "pure fabrications."
Monsignor Ray Hebert, 77, filed the defamation suit this month against Stacey Brown of Harvey, Ted Lausche of Lake Geneva, Wis., and Albert P. Miller of Pearl River.
Hebert said he did so after he spoke with friends both in and out of the priesthood who told him that his silence could be construed as an acknowledgment that the accusations were true -- "and of course there can be no such acknowledgment."
Hebert's accusers, now in their 40s and 50s, spent part of their childhoods in Madonna Manor in Marrero, which once cared for young boys coming out of broken or dysfunctional families.
Brown, Lausche and Miller are among 14 plaintiffs who have sued the Archdiocese of New Orleans, alleging that they underwent beatings and sexual abuse at the institution.
Brown, Lausche and Miller specifically named Hebert among staff members or others who they said sexually assaulted them.
The archdiocese said it believed that Hebert was a victim of mistaken identity by the accusers.
Hebert retired in 2002, his 50th year as a priest, as pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Marrero and head of the archdiocese's department of clergy.
He once headed Associated Catholic Charities, the church organization that ran Madonna Manor. Hebert said that during the years when the three men claimed they were molested, he visited Madonna Manor only two or three times a year to consult with the nun who supervised the facility.
Hebert said the men, who believe they have recovered repressed memories of abuse, accused him after learning that he was director of Associated Catholic Charities during their youth.
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