New Orleans priest removed for abuse sent messages to high school student

Catholic News Agency

October 9, 2020

The Archdiocese of New Orleans reportedly knew for months but did not inform school officials that a priest chaplain at a Catholic high school had sent texts to a student, in violation of archdiocesan policies. The priest was removed from ministry last week after admitting to have sexually abused a minor in an unrelated case.

The principal of John Paul II High School in Slidell, Louisiana, wrote a letter to parents on Tuesday saying that he had not known of inappropriate texts sent to a student by school chaplain Fr. Pat Wattigny until Oct. 2, when he was informed about them by New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

Wattingy was chaplain of the high school until the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, and even after he resigned from the high school faculty over the summer, neither school nor archdiocesan education officials were informed of his texting.

In fact, the school’s principal said he was not told about the texts for months — even though lawyers for the archdiocese had been informed by the student’s mother about the texts in February, several months before he was asked to resign from the school.

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.