Archdiocese adds priest to list of those accused of abuse


August 20, 2020

By Greg LaRose

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has added another priest to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. Brian Highfill was assigned to five churches in the New Orleans area and one in Houma between 1975 and 1981, when the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

Allegations against Highfill include a relationship with a 10-year-old altar boy in the early 1970s when Highfill was a priest at St. Catherine of Siena in Metairie, according to a civil lawsuit another accuser filed in 2019 against the priest and the archdiocese. The court petition said Highfill “maintained a personal, intimate and improper relationship” with the victim, sending him letters, cards and gifts “that expressed his love, affection and yearning…” for more than 15 years.

The victim took his own life in 1993, according to the lawsuit. Relatives of the victim found Highfill ’s cards and letters and brought them to the attention of a monsignor with the Archdiocese of New Orleans within the following year. The monsignor “did not consider the cards and letters to be significant” and no action was taken against Highfill , the court document said.

In August 2018, a family member reached Archbishop Gregory Aymond and brought him Highfill ’s cards and letters to the victim, the lawsuit details. After the relative met with Aymond, the court filing said there was no further response from the archdiocese.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.