Priest accused of 2013 abuse allegedly sent inappropriate texts to minor in 2020


October 2, 2020

By David Hammer

About four months before the Rev. Patrick Wattigny allegedly disclosed to the Archdiocese of New Orleans that he sexually abused a minor in 2013, he resigned from his post as chaplain at Pope John Paul II High School because he sent a series of text messages to a student this year that violated diocesan policies, church officials said Friday.

An attorney representing the family of the student alleged Friday that the messages constituted “grooming” for sexual activity, including repeatedly asking the boy when his 18th birthday was.

A statement from the archdiocese denied that any of the messages contained sexual references “or innuendo,” but they nonetheless represented a breach of archdiocesan policy mandating professionally-toned communications with students.

The archdiocese said a disciplinary investigation into the messages not only prompted Wattigny’s resignation, but it also led to Wattigny’s disclosing his alleged abuse of another juvenile roughly seven years ago.

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